Reading notes

Shy animals

Invited to spend a week at Heathrow as writer in residence, Alain de Botton finds himself at a desk in the middle of a terminal:

It turned out to be an ideal spot in which to do some work, for it rendered the idea of writing so unlikely as to make it possible again. Objectively good places to work rarely end up being so; in their faultlessness, quiet and well-equipped studies have a habit of rendering the fear of failure overwhelming. Original thoughts are like shy animals. We sometimes have to look the other way—towards a busy street or terminal—before they run out of their burrows.

de Botton, A Week at the Airport, page 42

While I’ve always tried to covet a good writing space (quiet, well-lit, uncluttered), I’m careful not to get too precious about my surroundings. The effort spent to create the “perfect” writing environment is a clever form of procrastination.