This is a very nice looking book with short essays by over sixty authors. They talk about where they write, how they get started and any talisman’s they like to have on hand when writing.
My father was a supremely organized man. After he died, my three sisters and I read through countless letters, papers and documents he had filed, according to one lucidly explicated category or another, and then decided what to keep and what to discard. One day while I was working in the room alone, I came across a small green box. In it was a metal ring with seven keys of various sizes. Attached to the ring was a small chain with a label, on which my father had written in his unmistakable hand: “Unkown Keys.” I now work with these unknown keys near me. They have become not only a reminder of my father – the man who is no longer there – but a sign of the act of writing itself. These keys to phantom doors, suitcases, safes, and diaries are linked in my mind to making stories. Now orphaned, they serve only as literal doubles of the imaginary keys that unlock nameless interiors: the peculiar dream spaces of fiction. ~ Siri Hustvedt