When not properly stowed, writers go bad. Not their writing, but their souls. We curdle easily and need to be handled with kid gloves—scratch that—thick rubber gloves—and kept in a cool, dry place, preferably not too bright and not for too long.
Many of us are peripatetic. How do you know if your writer is peripatetic? A) They use words like “peripatetic” and B) They can’t stay in one place more than a couple of hours before their minds turn in on themselves and start plotting—and not novels. But schemes, evil plans, ways to impress their will upon a world that never understood them or their genius.
This writerly tendency toward megalomania (guilty) can be addressed in a couple of ways. Booze is fun but unproductive. Changing where one works every couple of hours is productive but unfun. Hopping from cafe to cafe used to work until these so-called “third spaces” became corporatized birthing centers for abominations like the frappuccino.
Also, many writers with megalomania also suffer a comorbidity known as misanthropy. We can only be around people so long before our inner villains start plotting mass extinction events. Fortunately for me (and humanity), co-working spaces offer an alternative.
Insert the record scratch here. Yes, co-working spaces—just like the Apple TV+ series WeCrashed—but without all the tequila and emotional manipulation. Most days.
From Keller Street Cowork in Petaluma (my usual) to CraftWork Healdsburg and Venture Pad in San Rafael (this paper has memberships to both) coworking spaces aren’t mere “rent-a-desk” operations or upmarket alternatives to Starbucks. They are what’s saving the world from people like me.
For example, laughing diabolically at one’s designs for revenge is frowned upon at most co-working spaces—though, theoretically, you can use one of the soundproof phone rooms if you really must manically cackle at your coming misdeeds. Likewise, many of the conference rooms available have glass walls, so whatever evil machinations you scrawl on the whiteboard will be seen by any number of would-be heroes. Co-working is preventative medicine for supervillains.
In fact, co-working is reminiscent of a college study hall (I bet), wherein everyone abides by a code of relative quietude and mutual respect for space. Which is good since two or more evil geniuses in conversation is tantamount to a criminal conspiracy.
So, this is how I work now—moving from space to space, hiding in plain sight, passing as a creative entrepreneur as I write my screeds and manifestos, like some alien anthropologist visiting the people zoo. I co-work so I can co-exist.
Daedalus Howell co-works at daedalushowell.com.