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Think Like a Genius, Use a Standing Desk - Ernst Hemingway Did!

Posted by Suzanne Stackle on

Many great minds of the 20th century used a standing desk - Ernst Hemingway was one such maverick. The excerpt below was taken from an interview that George Plimpton did in 1954 with Hemingway for the literary journal he co-founded, The Paris Review. The interview starts with a description of the novelist’s desk in Cuba. (pictured above)

"It is on the top of one of these cluttered bookcases—the one against the wall by the east window and three feet or so from his bed—that Hemingway has his “work desk”—a square foot of cramped area hemmed in by books on one side and on the other by a newspaper-covered heap of papers, manuscripts, and pamphlets. There is just enough space left on top of the bookcase for a typewriter, surmounted by a wooden reading board, five or six pencils, and a chunk of copper ore to weight down papers when the wind blows in from the east window.

A working habit he has had from the beginning, Hemingway stands when he writes. He stands in a pair of his oversized loafers on the worn skin of a lesser kudu—the typewriter and the reading board chest-high opposite him."

Read the complete interview, which really is about his Hemingway's philosophy about writing, his daily writing habits, and his rituals and superstitions regarding his craft. Hemingway was a true real maverick, illustrated in everything he did, even in physical process of writing where he ditched the conventions and pretenses of the tradistional writer's desk.

Read the interview here.

Hemingway working on the porch of friend Bill Davis’ house in Malaga, Spain. Davis provided the desk for Hemingway.