Note: Hyperlinks that end with an asterisk lead to Hebrew web pages.
Sagit Emet* is an author, playwright and creative writing instructor. “Gaya’s Dawn”, published in 1999, is a YA novel that has won the Lea Goldberg and Zeev awards. Sagit has written plays for children and teenagers, and one for adults – “Because of the Night” – which was performed at the Habima National Theatre. Sagit provides one on one writing advice and runs workshops for writers.
This is me.
The fact that I am writing about the space I write in, instead of writing what I should really be writing in the space I write in, comes to prove that writing is difficult.
Or maybe it means I’m off track, not serious enough, unable, or all the other horrible things I think about myself when I’m stuck.
Right now I’m working on a novel for adults.
I’ve been working on it for a few years now. To be more precise, I began working on it four years ago, but only got into a real writing routine during the last year. Three times a week, five-six hours every time.
This is my official workspace:
My sweet husband built a cabin for me in our yard. It has wooden walls and bookshelves, illustrated postcards of poets I love, and inspiring sentences on the corkboard that’s prompted up opposite me.
It also has a big window, through which I can see our green garden and parrots chirping in their cages.
Everything is so picturesque and magical.
The perfect writing space, don’t you think?
Well. It’s not.
This perfect cabin truly exists, but I usually use it to meet other writers and help them climb out of the holes they’ve dug themselves into; (It’s easier to help others, believe me…)
I edit their writing together with them and sift through their words and ideas to find that one specific thing they really wish to write about, even if they themselves don’t know exactly what it is quite yet.
For meetings of this sort – my cabin is perfect.
But not for writing.
It’s just literally too close to home. It’s easy to escape from it “just for a minute” to hang up the washing, or put a pot of rice on the stove, chat with the neighbor who’s just returned from overseas, or join the kids for lunch – Since I’m here anyway, how can I not sit with them?
On writing days my lovely cabin stays empty.
This is the room I really write in:
This room is a five minute drive from my home. It’s in my mother’s apartment.
It’s not picturesque at all. Instead of birds chirping I sometimes hear the next door neighbors fighting or talking too loudly on their cellphones.
On the corkboard opposite me there are electricity and municipal bills that have to be paid.
And still – here I manage to detach and feel as if I’m completely alone.
It may be because I’m a woman and a mother. At home, where my kids are right around the corner, I lose focus and become too practical and efficient. But here, my mother’s presence in the kitchen doesn’t bother me at all. I manage to stare into space, dive into my story-world and write.
Usually I arrive here at 9 am, after swimming (I’ve been swimming every morning for 25 years now. I wish I could be as persistent with my writing) and leave at 3 or 4pm. I start my morning with a coffee to-go from the next door café. Sometimes I get seized by a sudden health ambition, and then the coffee is replaced by vegetable juice that’s comprised of carrot, beetroot, celery and apple. My mom makes it for me and then goes about her business. (She’s retired and very busy. Her day is full of fun activities).
2. My Computer
Everything has already been said. I couldn’t do it without it. I write. Save. And send my writing to myself via Gmail at the end of each day just to be safe.
3. It’s a Marathon
Perseverance and will power are needed – as they are in sport, but the finish line of my book is vague and unclear, and the route reveals itself, surprises me and grows longer every day. Sometimes I think that all this writing is masochistic, that it’s a waste. So many long hours during which I write instead of living. But sometimes, a moment before I pack up and leave for home, I read the words flickering on the screen, and suddenly I really like the characters, and manage, for one pure moment, to imagine that one day, maybe, it will be a book. And I feel happy.