Jaed Coffin Recommends...

“When it’s warm enough in Maine—May through October, mostly—I write in a small attic that sits above a 20-by-20-foot garage/shop building in my backyard. I do a lot of carpentry on the side, and all my tools are in my shop. When I get tired of thinking in words, I go downstairs and dig into a list of projects that I’m working on. Or sometimes I’ll just take a few minutes to very carefully put things—drill bits, odd wood scraps, chisels—in their proper places. I am one of those compulsively busy people who thinks with their hands, and something about the process of designing something, or organizing my various tools into drawers and onto shelves, has a way of clarifying the murkiness of my creative process. The thing I really don’t like about writing is its abstraction: stories kind of float around my head, and the form they ultimately take as text is still so immaterial to me that, often, it’s hard to feel like they’re real. I guess that having tools in my hands—and bringing a vision of, say, a little box or cabinet into existence—rewires my brain, helps me believe that whatever immaterial thing I’m chasing after actually has a shot at being born.”
—Jaed Coffin, author of Roughhouse Friday (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019)