Matthew Specktor

“I wouldn’t be the first writer to recommend this, I’m sure, but when I am stuck, I step away from my computer and pick up a pen. I like a pen that’s fluid but not fancy (a uni-ball Vision Elite works well), something less temperamental than a ballpoint; I leave my desk and choose another spot in the house—or outside of it, like a café patio—and print a set of pages (they don’t necessarily have to be the ones I’m working on) to revise. This tripartite shift—of place, so I don’t feel like I’m physically stuck; of utensil; and of surface—almost always does the trick. Writing by hand is slower, dreamier, it feels less formal, and hence less paralyzing than typing, and it activates a wider set of neural pathways, or so they say. I write between the lines of what I’ve printed, either revising them or, sometimes, ignoring them altogether: just having ink on the page tricks me into thinking I’m tinkering, playing rather than composing. I get stuck when I’m lacking either confidence or information. Research usually helps with the latter. This is how I like to address the former.”
—Matthew Specktor, author of Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California (Tin House, 2021) 

Photo credit: Julie Patterson
Writer Photo: 
Writer Photo Credit: 
Julie Patterson

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Author: jkashiwabara

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  • July 28, 2021