Most writers in my generation had this experience, although some of them still write longhand. I don’t do that much longhand anymore. Occasionally I will. Mostly it’s on the computer.


SL: I’m largely curious because I write longhand, and I find I’m pretty much the only one of anyone I know that still does that. But when I type on a computer, I feel somewhat distracted by the screen.


CB: Yeah.


SL: I’m wondering if you get that or if you find a way to avoid that?


CB: In the past, when I’ve been distracted that way, I turn the computer screen away so that I’m not looking at it. You can’t do that with a laptop. But with a desktop you can, and the reason to do it is that a big computer screen will make you lean backward. And it feels demanding. And it takes you away from the story. It’s better to be looking out of a window or at the wall than it is to look at the computer screen. The big stupid face of the screen staring at you…I don’t like that.


SL: When you go to write a story, do you tend to begin with a character? Or do you have a situation in mind that you want to explore? Is there a consistent beginning?


CB: I’m thinking of the story I’m working on now. I most always have the characters in mind. And I try to have their voices in my head before I begin. And a kind of ground situation that I can start from. And then I start writing.