One of the bloggers I follow, http://www.VVDenman.com, wrote a lovely piece the other day titled “The Power Behind A Writer’s Desk“ and she included a photo of the desk at which she writes. I’ve always found it fascinating to see where people write, especial since I began my first novel on the back of sales receipts at a campground somewhere in the middle of Not Anywhere. I then graduated to a rental car parked at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, although I was still writing on sales receipts. When I ran out of those, I had a choice: Buy more items in order to get more sales receipts or find some paper or a typewriter (This was still in the pre-computer Dark Ages of literary creativity).
But I digress. V.V.’s post reminded me of a story. Some years ago, I sold a log cabin on a large parcel of land to a friend of mine, Jean. I’m a Realtor, not a log cabin owner. Very shortly after the purchase, Jean attended a Pen Faulkner dinner and met Betty Friedan. During the conversation, Jean mentioned to Betty that she had just purchased the log cabin. Betty expressed great interest and curiosity, and so Jean invited her to see it. Sure enough, Betty showed up, with her assistant in tow. This was two years before Betty died.
Betty walked through the living room and stood at the large window seat that looked out on a truly spectacular setting. She turned to Jean and said, “This is where you write.” As this was a statement and not a question, Jean was momentarily taken aback. She explained to Betty that she was a lawyer, not a writer. Betty repeated, “This is where you write.” Jean didn’t argue. After all, this was Betty Friedan. After the house tour, Betty walked to the front door, thanked Jean for inviting her and said, “Every woman needs her own log cabin,” and left.
Jean forgot about Betty’s visit until at least a year later, when she actually did start writing. She and I and another friend wrote our first book. During the writing, Jean suddenly remembered Betty’s words.
Thanks to V.V. for reminding me. We may be lucky enough to write on the window seat of a real log cabin. Or that log cabin may be a beach or a desk or a table or a tent or even a rental car. Whatever it is, Betty was right. Every woman needs her own log cabin.