Saturday, January 22, 2022

A Writing Inspiration Twofer: George Saunders's Writing Practice AND his Writing House

 I was recently scrolling through Shedworking (, a UK* site for hopes and dreams about writing houses, when I saw this two-parter about the novelist, short-story writer, and critic George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo is his award-winning novel).

Here, from Shedworking, is a picture of his writing house in California. 

(Insert pause here while you sigh with delight.)

And here, from the New York Times* via Shedworking, is a bit about his writing practice:

"Saunders writes in a shed across the driveway from his house, where we sat for a couple hours one morning while his two yellow labs nosed around outside the door. There’s the desk and a sofa and a table stacked with books that he has been researching for his next project."

And this from The Guardian: 

"His first newsletter includes a photograph of his solitary writing shed in the woods behind the house in Corralitos. His wife, Paula, bought it for him a few years ago, and it’s a writer’s dream. No fences or distant rooftops. Just the shed surrounded by trees and the shadows of trees. Writers’ rooms are usually reclusive. But Saunders is using his to host a writing community. Why does he care? “I suppose one of the things that a person worries about along the way is, ‘Does this really matter?’”

  “To go up in that shed every day was so helpful.” It was, he says, a way of saying: “‘I can’t control the world.’"

And finally, from his new substack at, which sounds very much worth the $6 a month:  

"I’d come flying/stumbling down at the end of the day from a little writing shed I have up on the hillside in Corralitos, California, feeling, not that I’d “taken a break from” the current difficulties, but that I’d, well, girded up my loins for a deeper, less fearful engagement with the world."  

I am tempted to join the Story Club substack, not only for the pleasure of learning about writing short stories from a contemporary master at the top of his game but also in hopes that we will see interiors of the writing house.

Digression 1:  The Brits take their garden sheds/writing houses very seriously and even have an award for them.

Digression 2: From the New York Times piece, I learned that Saunders has the same guilty pleasure that I do--reading Vanity Fair on a plane. Famous genius writers and obscure bloggers--they're so alike!




1 comment:

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Oh, like I needed more ways to goof off online. California writing house. I would like to have some sort of wormhole in my house, such that I can open a door to, say, the linen closet and step through into a California back yard with writing house. I'm 100% certain that would make me vastly more productive.