Been some time now since I’ve been writing at my new space on 14th Street and thought it might be nice to give a glimpse into my early morning process. Paragraph is a writing space where neurotic New Yorkers go to get away from everything (noise and distraction) and set up shop in a tiny cubicle to write. You can be a part-time member or full-time member. The space is open 24 hours a day and 7 days week.

I usually arrive around 630AM with coffee in hand and get to writing right away. Since I work on 23rd, I leave Paragraph around 845AM and arrive early to work: pissed off and frustrated that I had to step out of my writing groove.

For the past few mornings, I have arrived and come across a woman asleep on the couch in the writing space. As a side note, she was always sucking her thumb, which was odd, but certainly not shocking. What was shocking was that she was hardcore sleeping at Paragraph like it was her home.

This morning: she was nowhere to be found.

I walked past the couch and was surprised not to see any woman asleep, nestled deep into the cushions, sucking her thumb or snoring. Yes, yesterday she was snoring pretty fucking loud. But nothing today. It was kind of sad.

I went to my early morning cubicle by the window.

And set up my station of coffee, water, mug, Bit O’Honey, some weird Asian candy, computer, and massive headphones.

Right now as I write this I am listening to Jason Isbell as recommended by friend Matt Schauf. The headphones have a pretty solid quality. (I checked them out with my father who is a sound mixer, which is a fancy term for someone who caputes live location sound for movies, TV, radio and/or commercials.)

But even though I didn’t see the Thumbsucker, I thought I heard someone walk by me. I peeked around the corner, but saw nothing. No one.

And now as I write this I am tucked away in my cubicle, gearing up for a round of writing. Working on the never ending novel. Welcome to Paragraph. Where when you sit down, ready to go, and you are in a quiet space with no one around and little to zero distraction, with coffee and candy and a lovely view of 14th Street, fear and anxiety take hold and make you doubt your existence as a writer.

About J. R. Angelella

J.R. Angelella has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and his award-winning short fiction has appeared in various literary journals. He teaches writing at the University of Maryland, College Park and lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer, Kate Angelella. For more information, visit his website at or follow him on twitter: @jrangelella.
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4 Responses to Thumbsucker

  1. You know my thoughts about that…:D

  2. About thumbsucking? I don’t know. What are your thoughts?

  3. A seriously channeled entry. I felt like I was waking up with you as you wrote. As I read I got excited because you included photos, expecting to witness the sleeping thumbsucker. What I didn’t expect was the image of a half frozen migrant sound guy trying to stay warm next to his cart. Like the punch line to that old joke, when the guy sweeping up after the elephants in the circus was asked why he didn’t find another job “What and leave show business?”

  4. Molly Gaudry says:

    What a strange and lovely post. It’s so cool that you get up early and go to write before work (what dedication!). And about Thumbsucker. Let’s hope she turns up…or doesn’t?

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