Misc Monday: Toni Morrison Talks About Writerhead

In my mind, author Toni Morrison is a god. A deity. The supremest of supreme beings in the literary world. A supernatural super-power who I am absolutely sure soars to the moon powered by her own wings…soars to Jupiter…and back…at least twice a week…as often as I run to Market Basket for milk…just for fun. Just for the opportunity to view the world from a different perspective. A glowing divine spirit in whose presence we all should bow and bang foreheads against the floor…bang, bang, bang…thanking her for transforming each molecule of literary air into something magical.

So how excited was I to discover that like me, Toni Morrison thinks about writerhead. No, no, she doesn’t call it writerhead…though she might if I ever get the chance to bend her ear…but she gets it just the same.

Look what she says in an interview that ran in the Paris Review:

Recently I was talking to a writer who described something she did whenever she moved to her writing table. I don’t remember exactly what the gesture was—there is something on her desk that she touches before she hits the computer keyboard—but we began to talk about little rituals that one goes through before beginning to write. I, at first, thought I didn’t have a ritual, but then I remembered that I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark—it must be dark—and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come. And she said, Well, that’s a ritual. And I realized that for me this ritual comprises my preparation to enter a space that I can only call nonsecular . . . Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense.

You see? Listen again:

And I realized that for me this ritual comprises my preparation to enter a space that I can only call nonsecular . . . Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process.

Writerhead.

 

Q4U: Which authors would you be most interested in knowing a little something about her/his writerhead?

 

10 Responses to Misc Monday: Toni Morrison Talks About Writerhead

  1. This is awesome! I absolutely adore Toni Morrison. Every word she writes is pure brilliance.

    As far as authors on writerhead, Sylvia Plath, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe. I know that would be impossible, but I would love to be inside their heads for a day.

  2. That is simply brilliant! Love where she says “light is the signal in the transition. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me…”

    I would love to hear Margaret Atwood, Annie Proulx or Jeanette Winterson’s take on “writerhead”.

  3. It is brilliant, isn’t it, Kath? And it’s so true…that there is a transition when a writer shifts into “writerhead.” Morrison is beautifully conscious of that transition.

    And yes, I’d also love to hear all three of those women talk about their “writerhead.” I’m going to work on that…

    Thanks for visiting. Hope to see you here often.

  4. I’d give anything to know about Junot Diaz’s writerhead – have you ever heard that guy talk about writing? Magnetic, edgy, explosive…

  5. Oh, I second (third?) the Margaret Atwood interest…that would be so cool! Also Ruth Ozeki…she’s written about her writing as meditation, I think she’d have great writerhead insight.

    Fabulous ideas percolating, Kristin — great job with the new website!