Hemingways Attic a writers survival guide

ABOUT William Hazelgrove

William Hazelgrove
Born in Richmond, Virginia, and carted back and forth between Virginia and Baltimore, I blame my rootless, restless personality on my father. He was and is a traveling salesman with a keen gift of gab, great wit, a ready joke, and could sell white tennis shoes to coal miners.




A survival guide for writers. The novelist in Ernest Hemingways' attic gives his philosophy and tips for surviving as a writer in America. "There no classes for how to survive as a writer. It is usually the school of hard knocks. Writers mostly keep to themselves and flame out or end up in some gutter without telling anyone of their journey. There are lots of books on how to get published and make a bestseller and how to sell books. But to survive as a writer in a society that does not recognize writing as a viable way of life is very tricky. Most will not undertake it. Many will wait until retirement and then write their self-published novel. It is all very safe and not who this book is for. This book is for the writer. This book is for the man woman or child who has no choice in the matter and who makes the decision to be a writer or die. It is like that. Once you know you are a writer, then you must survive."

It is a complicated thing where one chooses to write. I have written in store rooms, basements, bedrooms, attics, spaces over garages, cottages, buttonhole apartments and just about every coffee house in America. Maybe a criteria would be as simple as a place where one can be lost and no one will notice the man in the corner scribbling or typing or reading or just staring into blank space. There is nothing holy about one space over another, but there must be anonymity of the sort that allows the writer to become whoever he or she wants for that time. I found Hemingway’s attic simply by asking a woman if she had any space in her house. The house turned out also to be where Ernest Hemingway was born.I'd like to say there was a grand design, but it really was just that a new baby and a strange windy March day drove me out to a coffee house. It was on the way back that I saw the sign, took the tour, then took a shot and asked if there was any space available. It was really that simple. There were some evaluations of my books, but I don't think there was anything particularly Hemingway about my prose that opened the door. I was really at the right place at the right time. And so the strange ritual of ascending stairs to a musty old attic was born. That was about ten years ago, and while I write other places as well -- I do have an office over a garage that I share with the exhaust and the occasional field mouse -- the attic is a touchstone, a place where one gets a glimmer of another time, maybe a simpler time, I don't know. But certainly, once I am there, and settled into my stiff-backed chair, I hear the squirrels chattering in the eaves and stare at the church in the distanced over the rooftops -- I am very far away, at least for an hour or two. NPR Interview in Hemingway's Attic