Writer’s Block at Norman Mailer’s House

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  11.18.10 | 1:01 PM ET

The Smart Set has a dispatch from Provincetown, where freelancer Amy Rowland spent a month as a fellow at Norman Mailer’s house-turned-writers’ retreat—and found herself unable to write. Here’s Rowland:

We were encouraged to write in Mailer’s house, but I found I couldn’t. Sitting in the living room, where Mailer kept dinner companions waiting while he finished writing in the attic, was like trying to write in a shrine. There were photos on the wall: Mailer with Vidal, Mailer with Plimpton, Mailer with Castro, Mailer with Vonnegut, Mailer with Jackie Kennedy.

Once, I wandered out to the porch and plopped down in a white rocking chair with faded pink cushions.

“That was Mailer’s chair,” someone said. “That’s where he sat to watch the water.”

I jumped up from the chair and went back to the wall of photos.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

2 Comments for Writer’s Block at Norman Mailer’s House

Winnie V. 11.22.10 | 6:44 PM ET

Writer’s block is really one treacherous monster! You’ll never know when it will hit. Great writers really can be a source of inspiration BUT Eva Holland’s experience is perfectly on spot. It is much akin to a good singer finding herself doing the front act for her idol—she is rooted to where she is, wants to shake her idol’s hand but can’t move, then she opens her mouth to sing, nothing comes out ... and she stares at the audience, mouth agape wondering why!

Kim W 12.22.10 | 2:07 PM ET

Writer’s block -  life is full of unexpected suprises…..

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