Creative Nonfiction

A Kink in the Tale: On Libido and the Writing Practice

NICOLA WALDRON is a graduate of Cambridge and the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her work has been published in Post Road Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Assay, and Agni, among others. She currently teaches writing at the University of South Carolina and is working on an essay collection.


When I was younger, I wrote at my desk, a gracious Mexican affair bought in a first-sight passion. The seat was hardwood, ambitious. Many an essay has this desk to thank for its existence, as does my son; it’s where I measured out my fertility drugs into a hopeful series of syringes, before resting my weight on its kindly bulk to stick myself—a useful metaphor, perhaps, for the writing life. These days, I write most often with legs stretched out atop the indulgently accommodating mattress my husband and I bought after a lengthy battle with mold spores and marauding dust mites, those naughty squatters drawn to our ancient pocket-springs by the relics of connubial activity (skin, sweat, etc.) and the feeding of our resultant offspring (breast milk, Cheerios mush, drool). Which tells you most of what you need to know about the current state of my erotic and creative life. The bed offers prolonged support, along with a more complex and satisfying perspective. Semi-prone, I can look out, over my laptop, to the outrageous display of azaleas and other blowsy Southern efflorescence outside the window, shaming me with the perennial “come hither” morphology of the flowers, and thence up into the leafy, austral vista and the great unknown. It’s a fine place, in any case, to rest between long days of standing before students,

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