The Writers' Block

“Why we should subsidise hipster novelists’ housing” is a theory proffered by UK Guardian journalist Brigid Delaney:

Bankrupt and boarded up – the city of Detroit hardly sounds like an inspiring place to work on your novel. But if your rent is covered – then suddenly the prospect is a lot more appealing. Detroit non-profit organisation Write a House is renovating two three-bedroom houses and is accepting applications (worldwide) for writers to move in rent-free. If the writers stay for two years, they get the deeds to the house. I suspect the organisation won’t be short of applications.


Yes, lets import a squadron of Second Amendment-adverse leftwing literary hipsters into feral Detroit — would they even need the “This Home is Proudly Gun-Free” signs that James O’Keefe once handed out to MSM journalists to paint targets on their back? Plus note this allusion from Delaney:

Virginia Woolf wrote that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Over the years I’ve written in monasteries, the British museum, libraries, vacant holiday houses, beach shacks, at pubs, cafes – all borrowed spaces where I’ve tried to access some stillness to allow the words to follow.

Of course, as Theodore Dalrymple once noted, Woolf also wrote:

“No guinea of earned money should go to rebuilding the college on the old plan. . . . [T]herefore the guinea should be earmarked ‘Rags. Petrol. Matches.’ And this note should be attached to it. ‘Take this guinea and with it burn the college to the ground. Set fire to the old hypocrisies. Let the light of the burning building scare the nightingales and incarnadine the willows. And let the daughters of educated men dance round the fire and heap armful upon armful of dead leaves upon the flames. And let their mothers lean from the upper windows [before, presumably, being burned to death] and cry “Let it blaze! Let it blaze! For we have done with this education!”’”


Thomas Sowell once wrote that “Before the ghetto riot of 1967, Detroit’s black population had the highest rate of home-ownership of any black urban population in the country, and their unemployment rate was just 3.4 percent.” Between its riots, the annual conflagratory Devil’s Night that form the terrifying eponymous conclusion to the book that Zev Chafets wrote in 1990 cataloging his own year living in Detroit, the city’s abandoned libraries, and its collective suicide in general, Detroit has taken much of Woolf’s advice to heart.

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Earlier: Kevin D. Williamson on “What Doomed Detroit.”


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