Since no man is tempted to every sin, I’ll take credit for having kept envy in check for the most part. But after I saw the great David McCullough’s writing shed on his HBO documentary, Painting With Words–the Shed is discussed here [see Part 3 [of 4] @ 8:50]–I must admit that envy quickly caught up to my six other deadlies.
But it also made me wonder …
What If C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb Produced MTV’s Cribs?
DJ Whatever: I bet this shed seen a few [female dogs] yo … [guttural giggle].
David McCullough: I’m sorry?
DJ Whatever: Ya alright, be like that. I get it, it’s the cameras right.
David McCullough: This is not what we had discussed. No disrespect intended, I’m sure you’re wonderful, but …
DJ Whatever: Hey man, I can’t work with this here Gramps, he gotta loosen up yo.
David McCullough: Brian a word please. DJ Whatever appears to be a delightful young fellow, but there has been a rather unfortunate miscommunication here …
Here’s how McCullough’s Shed was described in a 1999 interview:
“Nothing good was ever written in a large room,” David McCullough says, and so his own office has been reduced to a windowed shed in the backyard of his Martha’s Vineyard home. Known as “the bookshop,” the shed does not have a telephone or running water. Its primary contents are a Royal typewriter, a green banker’s lamp, and a desk, which McCullough keeps control over by “flushing out” the loose papers after each chapter is finished. The view from inside the bookshop is of a sagging barn surrounded by pasture. To keep from being startled, McCullough asks his family members to whistle as they approach the shed where he is writing.
David McCullough related articles and web sites:
- The Greater Journey  – Simon and Schuster website
- The Course of Human Events  – NEH website
- John Adams  – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
- Truman [1999 – “Look at your fish”] – Paris Review Interview
- The Great Bridge  – New York Times article
David McCullough related videos:
McCullough is not alone among writers finding confined spaces conducive to productivity.