In her second floor writing room in her Baltimore home, the novelist Anne Tyler likes to keep the windows open to hear ordinary life outside. She writes in longhand, then types her words out, then records her words, listens to them, and then adds to and edits the words on a computer.
As Tyler does this, she listens to parents and children, cars parking and daily chatter. She particularly likes to observe workmen, she says: the way they talk and work, their solid capability. On the wall are printed a few lines from Richard Wilbur’s poem Walking to Sleep:
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