On Location with Lauren Groff

In our new department On Location, we feature photographs submitted by authors, artists, designers, and friends of Ecotone and Lookout, showcasing spaces that are meaningful to them, or that inspire their work—anything from a desk or bookshelves to a place they gather information. We’re pleased for Lauren Groff, whose beautiful story “Abundance” appears in Astoria to Zion, to kick off the series.


Lauren Groff writes:

Ten years ago, my writing space had to be a separate room with a lockable door, chaise longue, bookshelf, and idea board. It had to be scrupulously neat. I refused to speak to anyone between waking and working; I’d brew a pot of coffee, lock the door, light a candle and meditate, then get started. If anyone had interrupted me, they’d have died a horrid death.

All that seems precious now that I have kids—and I mean precious in both senses. I work everywhere, now. I have a cruddy studio in my garage that I can use in the spring or fall, but not summer or winter because of the climate of Florida and my lack of climate control out there. I’ve been writing in bed recently because it’s winter and we don’t turn on the heat, and despite its rep, Florida can get really chilly. Also, because I’m frightened by what I’m working on and I like the feeling of being comforted while I work. I write in line to pick up my kindergartener at school; at night, accompanied by my insomnia in the bathtub; in my parents’ empty house down the street; in my head in the middle of the night when my three-year-old has the croup. I wrote “Abundance” sitting on the floor of my study, where we keep the books, because it felt natural somehow to do so. My oldest son was two then and we didn’t have the dog, but I remember him occasionally meandering in, smearing things on my cheeks, and meandering out.

Lauren Groff is the author of Arcadia, a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in fiction; The Monsters of Templeton; and Delicate Edible Birds, a story collection. Her fiction has appeared in The Pushcart Prize and The PEN / O. Henry Prize Stories, as well as in the New Yorker, the Atlantic MonthlyOne StoryTin HousePloughshares, and twice in The Best American Short Stories.