25th Trillium Award

At The Desk: Julie Bruck

 
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For each book that sits on our shelves or rests in our hands, a writer has spent countless hours researching, organizing, writing and rewriting. In Open Book?s At The Desk series, writers tell us about their creative processes and the workspaces that inspire them.

San Francisco-based poet and teacher Julie Bruck is the author of Monkey Ranch (Brick Books). She spoke with Open Book about thermostat wars and writing in the car.

Julie will be at the INCITE Series in Vancouver on Mar. 7, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Check out the website for more details.
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I do have a desk. It's in the flat I share with a prose-writer who has a master carpenter's work ethic, and a teenage girl who is serious about her vinyl records and whose room shares a heating vent with mine. While I can't hear him, I feel his industry like an ozone charge in the atmosphere. There is also always e-mail at hand, and Facebook, not to mention the thermostat wars that characterize so many households: if he's cold, I'm parched. The usual litany of domestic distractions.

When I'm revising, I'm so absorbed that none of this registers. I've missed significant earthquakes to rewriting, and undoubtedly, real pleasures too. But generating new work is another matter: that's when a poet's propensity to notice things becomes a problem and I need some kind of filter, which is my car.

Once or twice a week, I park, put the keys in the glove box, activate the automatic locks, and write in longhand for 30 to 40 minutes. The windshield lets in just enough of the world. Writing in my mobile office feels like being gently lowered in a small submarine, to a state--because I know it's finite--of full surrender.


Julie Bruck is the author of two previous books, both with Brick: The End of Travel (1999) and The Woman Downstairs (1993). Her recent work has appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and The Walrus, among other publications. A Montreal native, she lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter. Monkey Ranch is her third poetry collection.

For more information about Monkey Ranch please visit the Brick Books website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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