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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The writer's friend

The woodstove offers:

1. warmth, preventing you from going back to bed or curling up on the couch with the New Yorkers that you're way behind on
2. complexity - lots of flues and vents and baffles, the frequent opening and closing of which keeps your brain alive
3. tangible results and goals, i.e, the thermometer magnetically attached to the stovepipe registers the temperatures ( 400-500 degrees) for "best operation"
4. discipline - it must be lighted first thing in the morning, even before orange juice, the log rack must be restocked twice a day, the wood pile in the garage must be replenished
5. creativity in choosing the exact right log - diameter, length, hard- or softwood - for maximum burn and most shapely fire
6. nostalgia: Baron Wormser lived for more than 20 years with only woodstoves for heat and cooking? Such a simpler way of life.... Also, when you light the stove in the morning, you use newspaper, financial statements, cereal boxes, and old manuscripts and sometimes you read them and get distracted by the past, which leads to the most important point of all:
7. distractibility: getting up constantly to check the burn, open a vent or door for just a little more air, brush wood bits from the floor under the log rack and ash bits from the brick apron in front of the stove, get some more logs from the garage, check the stovepipe thermometer, then your house's, then the outside one and feel virtuous, in fact do anything at all to get you away from the balky sentence, the lame phrase, the description that slithers around like jello, the cliches that just will not leave your brain, the character who sounds like you, and the impossibility of transitions between paragraphs.

All in all, quite a useful thing, the woodstove.

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