Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Nathan Whitlock for DESK SPACE


NATHAN WHITLOCK Me. Nathan Whitlock, author of A Week of This (ECW Press).

DS When did you start writing?

NW I started writing with some aim of eventually becoming a “writer” when I realized I didn’t have the makings of a professional musician – couldn’t stand being around the same group of people (or any group of people) for extended periods of time. 16? 17? Though I don’t think I did it with any kind of intensity until my son was born, ten years ago. That was a kick in the ass and prioritizer. Still took me ten years to get an actual book out, though.

DS Where do you write?

NW I write on scraps of paper and in notebooks wherever I am. When I have a critical mass of those scraps, I type it all onto the computer you see here and try to give it some sense of order.

I wrote most of my first book and dozens of short stories right onto the computer, but I am realizing more and more that seeing it all neat in Times Roman inhibits me a little, makes me think “good draft” when I should be just getting it all in first and worrying about cleaning it up later.

DS Why do you work where you do?

NW My desk is the only spot in the house that is more than 75% mine. I also have a window that looks onto Lansdowne so I can spy on people if I get bored. The sound gets funneled up to where I am, and there’s a fight – verbal, usually, but not always – every other day it feels like.

My first novel I wrote in the basement of an apartment, between the furnace and a brick wall, so this feels like paradise. Note the light coming in the window and death just over my shoulder, which is as it should be.

DS What are you working on now?

NW Mostly hack work – reviews, articles, etc. I’m trying to revive a short story I left for dead a long time ago, and I’m also picking away at my second novel.

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