Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Writing Spaces: Author/writer Elyse Major interviews me

Author/writer/editor Elyse Major puts out an awful lot of words about spaces. She's written a couple books on the subject and now edits a big magazine out of Providence, RI, my old stomping grounds. Since I'm always going on about my writing studio regardless of where it might be in the world, she decided to interview me on the topic. Here it is: 
writer/author Elyse Major
Leave the gun, take the cannoli
What makes it to Vincent Zandri’s writing space
As a lifestyle writer I can’t help but be intrigued whenever Vince posts an image of his work-space because aside from his Albany home base, these set-ups are essentially mobile. Like his characters Jobz or Marconi, I find myself studying these shared snaps, wondering what makes the cut for a streamline guy who brings only a single backpack along for a month of traveling. 
Here are eight questions to scratch the surface of what keeps the ever-prolific Zandri meeting that coveted daily word count wherever he may be.
So Vince, once you’ve stuffed your red Sriracha t-shirt and passport into your bag, what tools or supplies are on the packing list to ensure the work gets done?
Laptop, smartphone, camera, brain...
Is location or type of trip a factor as far as what you hope to accomplish while away? For example, do on-the-go travels like your recent visit to Asia mean writing-only while longer stays (Florence) mean proofing and editing as well, or is it an organic mix?
It's harder to write when I'm on a night train, or traveling 500km overland or getting up at dark thirty for a plane to who knows where, but luckily I can write anywhere. Writing new words lends itself to both on-the-go travels, as you call them, and long stays. But editing is easier with the long stays. 
If you find yourself in a situation where the laptop is out of battery and there’s no electrical outlet or Wifi, do you take the night off or switch to pen and paper?
I haven't encountered that in a long time since I plan for the eventuality. On occasion I've had no choice but paper and pen. And of course I keep a notebook in my pocket. 
From the photo of your home office, it looks like you “bite the nail” from a card table and not a desk. Is this by design or circumstance (like, well I had this table handy and turns out I prefer it to a desk…)?
It's actually a kitchen table. I've always used kitchen tables as desks. More space to spread out my junk. Normal sized desks don't work for me. 
Explain the gun?
Guns are a big part of my life and my character's lives. The one in the picture is actually an Airsoft trainer. The real .45 is locked away. 
When adventure-traveling, do you write about the experiences of that day immediately, use them for future stories, or both? 
Unless I'm writing an article for some magazine or a post for the Vox, I keep mental notes of everything. Plus I take tons of photos. I try to be as observant as possible and soak up the experience. My brain remembers the important things like the tastes, smells, textures, sounds, and of course, the weather. 
Do you scribble notes or chronicle things using an app?
No. I should though, shouldn't I?
Do you need to “set the stage” for yourself for writing on-the-go, or can you plop down anyplace with your laptop and get busy?
A little of both. I wrote ten pages of my new book sitting on my butt in the airport in Hong Kong. But as soon as I arrive in Florence, or Paris, or Bangkok, or New York City, or even Cape Cod, I set up my little writing space. It's the very first thing I do. It makes me feel good for some reason. At peace with the world, knowing that even if I'm technically I'm not home, I can still be creative. It's an addiction I guess or an obsession anyway.   
What items make it onto the home memo board?
Anything that strikes me as having meaning and relevance to my work. Hemingway is there, some photos I took for an assignment in West Africa a while ago, a Publishers Weekly cover featuring my face and The Remains, a photographer outside Angkor Wat, A headline about all out war when Russia attacked Georgia, the cover to the Italian edition of Moonlight Sonata, Paris, stuff like that. Who knows, Elyse, maybe you'll make it up there?

Elyse Major is the author of several books including Tinkered Treasures and I Modify IKEA. You can get the full scoop, including links to her books, her website, and video at her Good Reads page


  1. hey vince,

    so enjoyed reading your answers! my second time on the vox and it's always awesome. thanks!


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