Here’s a picture of the corner of my office where I’m currently working in the copy-edited manuscript of Players. It has already been subjected to my editor’s scrutiny, of course, but having taken her comments to heart and made the appropriate modifications, the manuscript is back again. This time just about every page contains corrections and suggestions for micro-improvements; it’s time to rethink every line all over again. More importantly, it has been marked up for the typesetter with time-honoured hierogylphic instructions, and you realize that the novel that has been a more-or-less private conversation with yourself for the past year or so has begun its journey towards the bookshops.
I once visited Longfellow’s house in Cambridge, Mass; the view from the study, down to the Charles river, is preserved for the nation. Maybe poets need to look out of windows; most writers I know face away from potential distraction, like so many penitents.