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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Perfect Conditions

My wife claims that needing the perfect conditions to write is gendered-- that (at least some) men can work anywhere and not worry about it, whereas (most) women need ideal conditions before they can write. This might be the case, I don't really know, but then it would put men at a competitive advantage--given that less than ideal conditions are more frequent. On the other hand, if women optimize their working spaces more, then that would give them some edge. What do you think?


Thomas said...

Yes, I suppose it's more a question about what conditions people think they need. If it is true that women think they need ideal conditions to even begin writing then they are more likely to write under ideal conditions. They will impose an order on their surroundings. They will be more productive, more intelligent, more publishable, etc. Working under the illusion that they can work under all sorts of conditions, by contrast, men will squander their energy in unproductive writing sessions. Actually, both beliefs may be illusory. The "idealists" don't ever succeed in imposing ideal order on their writing process, and yet they succeed as writers anyway. So we're really just talking about folk-explanations for different attitudes about discipline.

My experience as an editor of the work of both men and women however doesn't really confirm the gender bias. (But that's an unscientific observation.) I suppose we could talk about "masculine" and "feminine" writers, regardless of sex.

Jonathan said...

Good points. If an illusion makes you more productive, stick to it.

Clarissa said...

The luckiest people are autistics because we don't mind the noise or the distractions. I can write in front of a TV, in an airport, or even in a bar. I don't care about the level or noise or the presence of other people because I just disconnect from everything and nothing can break my concentration.

This helped a lot when I was a grad student with an extremely noisy roommate.