Seattle Public Library Writers’ Room

I attended also the opening of the Scanduzzi Writers’ Room (thank to the Seattle Public Library for inviting me). I was left with a perfuse sensation of gratification.

I like the roof missing in the writer’s room. I like idea that you can look down into the space and see literary production. It makes writing a living and vital component of the library and is a step toward addressing the flood of information being generated as a result of the information age. Rather than the books interred on the shelves, we can see the vital act of the books being transcribed from the writer’s mind into language.

Furthermore, the missing roof is a move away from merely copying the initiative of other libraries and creating a space for writing that is unique to the demands and requirements of Seattle. A public space with writers sequestered and on display producing books that may one day be shelved in the library, I think is a wonderful thing. I hope though that library takes this spectacle to the logical extreme.

It would be excellent for the room to have a library web cam, so that when visiting the library web site, I could look in on the writers and see if they are actually typing and using the space for its intended purpose. Perhaps if the web audience finds them not productive enough, they can be ejected? It would also be excellent if the actual literary production in the space, too, was captured in a web journal. Patrons of the library and the library web site could watch the works of new literature appear as they were written. Writers, too, could take this as an opportunity to build an audience for their work, or even use the feedback they would unlikely generate, to revise and improve their work. Writing could perhaps be seen then as a muscular, public act (which it is) rather than our mistaken notion of it as a private, cerebral act. The idea that writing is a lonely task is, as we know, hogwash. A writer is elbow deep in books and the opinions of others. A writer isn’t intellectually isolated and alone in a Seattle basement. I hope, then, that from the view down into the writer’s room, a library computer station could be set up so that patrons could log directly into the web site and read what is bring written right before their eyes.

I see special events in such a space:

* The write a novel in a month contest would generate a sporting event fervor among patrons as their favorite novelists and dark horse short story writers pounded through their speed novels. I myself would be very interested in participating in such an event provided I had plenty of notice so I could secure the appropriate corporate sponsorship. I am hoping for Tully’s over Starbucks. I think the double-roast process would bust my intestines.
* Typing Explosion could hold weekly open to the public gatherings where library patrons could generate their own poems.
* Writers visiting Seattle could be asked to be guest writers in the writers in the writers’ room.

The space has many possibilities. A writers room is a gift. The library must expect reciprocity from writers, and it seems a small thing to make the act of writing public. I hope, though, that the library makes the act very public. If the activity was logged and visible on the web, I would be sure to visit it every day.

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