JP Gritton Recommends...

“I’ve heard the arguments against writing in public, and I’m compelled by them: There’s no real way to concentrate in a library or café, people tell me, and maybe they’re right. Sometimes the distractions are pleasant ones (the other day, a conversation about a Marlon James novel I listened to on the walk over to the café). Sometimes the distractions are unpleasant ones (the arrival of the afternoon-shift barista, whose iPod never fails to sour my mood). Either way, it’s hard to get much done. Here’s the rub though: I also get blocked at home, where I know all my playlists too well and where the closest thing I have to conversation is a photograph tacked to the wall above my desk. Before I know it, the language is limping along: if it’s a scene I’m describing, the scenery grows dull; if there’s a conversation on the page, I barely follow it. So I end up walking down to the café, where a crisp set of distractions kicks loose memory and feeling. And suddenly I can write again—that is, until I can’t. And then it’s time to go back home. Wash, rinse, repeat.”
—JP Gritton, author of Wyoming (Tin House Books, 2019)