Writing in Isolation: Prison Memoir

It is remarkable to think that in 1858, an imprisoned man in Auburn (New York) could muster up 304 pages of life in prison, but Austin Reed did.

New York Times ©

Uncovered recently and now at Yale, the manuscript must be quite the eye full as it is handwritten, and undoubtedly a challenge to read, and now it is to be published.

It makes me think of my own struggle with writing.   Before the internet, I could sit down at a typewriter or an early computer, and write for ages.  Now I get distracted not by isolation but by popping emails, and searches for this or that.

When I had a place in the mountains, years ago, I would go there on weekends and write, often late into the night, with perhaps the radio on.  We didn't have much of a television.

I managed more than 300 pages, but these days it is difficult for me to meet my own schedule of one hour or 1000 words.

Yesterday, landlocked by snow and no car, I managed just over one thousand words, and the time seemed to fly by.

I am hoping to disengage and continue that pace.

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