Graydon Carter Shares His Quarantine Memoir-Writing Routine

The famed editor is spending an hour every day on his forthcoming book

2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals
Graydon Carter in 2015.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage via Getty
By Tobias Carroll / May 29, 2020 12:21 pm

For a number of literary figures working on highly-anticipated books, quarantine life offers a small benefit: namely, there’s even more time to make headway on their work in progress. LBJ biographer Robert Caro is but one example of writers using the current moment to work on a high-profile project. Another is onetime Vanity Fair editor-in-chief and current Air Mail head Graydon Carter.

A new interview with Carter at The Wall Street Journal offers a glimpse of a very enviable writing space and routine. Lane Florsheim writes that Carter “has been hunkered down at his home in Opio, a town in Provence, France, since stay-at-home began in March.” There are certainly worse places to wait out a pandemic.

Carter discusses his daily routine, which involves meditation, yogurt and “a lot of coffee.” He tells Florsheim that he’s been dedicating plenty of time to work on his memoir, in addition to his work on Air Mail.

There’s never a good time for it, but I do believe in leaving a paragraph half-finished. When you come back to it, it’s much easier to finish a paragraph than to start a new one. I never really have writer’s block; I can write well or badly on individual days. But I try to put an hour aside a day to work on this quasi-memoir.

It’s not the only thing Carter has a dedicated daily space for; in the interview, he also mentions that he allocates an hour daily for drawing.

Carter also shares some of his literary and cinematic consumption in the interview, which includes some classics (P.G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh) and some unexpected choices (“a Steven Seagal film festival” with his youngest son). So, yes — Graydon Carter’s quarantine routine involves the work of Steven Seagal. We live in strange times indeed.

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