Looking for a place to write? Tell us…

Do we need a “Writer’s Room,” as so many bigger cities have — a public place where, for the price of a daily latte (that’s about the rate in NYC any way), a writer can have some quiet space, a desk, and maybe a sense of community?

Writer and filmmaker Mary Katzke would like to know. She is scouting around Anchorage, thinking about renting a “room of one’s own,” and wondering if there is enough demand to create a group workspace.

Don’t worry about commitment, yet. Just help us brainstorm.

Where would an ideal space be? (Downtown, over a Kaladi Bros. or near another coffeehouse, close to …?)

What would you be willing to pay? ($100/month? Less?)

Can you envision committing to 6 months at a time?

What are the benefits and disadvantages? Could it work, even in a recession? Is there any way to get subsidies or any other kind of support?

This is not the same question I’ve raised in the past about a desire for a get-away cabin (that’s what I really want to see happen, but it’s a different kind of fantasy). This is a more practical question about how many people would like their own away-from-home office space. Even if you’re not in Anchorage, let us know if you’d had experience with writers’ rooms in other cities. Chime in here and/or contact Mary (preferably both) at marykatzke@gci.net.

6 thoughts on “Looking for a place to write? Tell us…”

  1. I enjoy writing at home, but I’d love to see a writers’ loft or writers’ house in Anchorage, something that could be used perhaps on weekends by visiting writers and some evenings for writers’ groups.

  2. Marybeth Holleman

    Loussac used to have a room in the Alaska Room section that writers could apply for and use for set hours every week. It was sweet. Wonder if they’d do something like that again?

  3. I think that it would be a great idea to have a little change of venue now and then. I like the idea of something close to a coffee shop or some other “watering hole”.

    Didn’t the Kaladi Bros over on 68th used to have an upstairs area? It seems like there may be other spaces in that complex as well.

    I’d be happy to help in any way!



  4. Bruce Farnsworth included a writer's room — really, a suite of rooms, including a common room for writing workshops — in his proposal for the Mt. View Arts & Cultural Center, which also had space for visual artists, dancers, perhaps theatre artists, and so on. He asked similar questions– for example, what would we writers (and others) be willing to pay? Writers attended a number of planning meetings for the center and contributed ideas. Where the proposal is right now — how much closer the multidisciplinary center is to being more than a beautiful idea– I'm not sure. (Bruce, if you're reading this, maybe you can bring us up to date.)
    I think Mt. View is OK, but I live closer to Spenard. I would love to see a big Spenard garage or warehouse turned into a theater, with spare rooms for writers, but that's a pipe dream. A writers urban retreat would work, I think, only if it offered quiet, like the room Loussac offered and (apparently) no longer does. I don't know how much community a writer could stand if the purpose was to get work done. I would pay maybe up to $150 a month if I could have a room with a table or desk and a very comfortable desk chair and I could lock the door for several hours a day and not hear anything. If the window was high enough so that the only thing you saw was the sky, that would be good too. And the coffee shop about a block away, one that served chocolate, which you would treat yourself to only if the work went well.

  5. A writers’ room: Oh yes! Make it central, like midtown, and give it nice tables but beanbags too, and have dogs lying on the carpet, and the music will be the tap tap tap of keyboards and the scratching of pens on paper and the quiet murmur of voices engaged in the commerce of ideas. It should be a clean well-lighted place. A place for the best minds of my generation. Put Kerouac in a corner, amped on coffee and weed, scrolling out the manifesto of our glorious pursuits, and Fitzgerald stacking saucers as he plows through a day’s worth of espressos. And Bukowski sleeps it off in a pond of vomit and piss. And Virginia Wolf, goddess of our own room, will keep it cheery with flowers from her own beloved garden even while Chinua Achebe reminds us that even this will fall apart.

    How much should we pay? Everything and nothing. Everything because no cost is too high. Nothing because we’re writers, destined to die penniless and unknown; Like Thoreau and the poll tax we’ll choose principle over freedom spending days in jail, and that will be our rent.

    (But above Kaladi’s and no more than a hundred a month sounds reasonable).

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