LIBRARIAN ON DUTY / HOST: ELIZABETH GAFFNEY
LIBRARY INQUISITOR: JOSHUA C. CRAIG
24-HOURS | This space is named it after the all-night room at the library of my college. I had a lot of fun there, and I experienced a certain amount of anguish, some of it weirdly beneficial. I wrote and I thought and I crammed and sometimes I panicked. Or I simply wept. I'm not claiming all these tears had to do with Heidegger or James Fennimore Cooper. Some of them were about rejection, romantic or otherwise. I remember nights that bled into mornings when my friends and I sat on grubby armchairs and talked nonstop, despite the rules, because we were the only ones there. I studied alongside students I'd never met before, and some of them became my closest friends. More than once, I went to The 24-Hour Room in the hope of getting an impossible amount of work done before a due date and woke up hours later, cold and disoriented, face down in Aristotle, with a crust of drool rimming the corners of my mouth. I don't even remember if I finished those papers on time. I just remember the passion. No matter how bleary I might be, there was an energy there, generated by some combination of fluorescent lighting and the public gaze, by the mere possibility of community. I made The 24-Hour Room in the hopes of reproducing some of that here, despite — or really because of — the terrible isolation of our present times.
I hope it helps your writing, and please feel free to fall asleep while typing in a fugue state at the 1 a.m. Studio. I did it just last night, and I wrote a couple half decent sentences while simultaneously dreaming.
STUDIO | The Studio is the silent virtual meeting room where Members can write together any time of the day or night. No talking, and mute yourself. If anyone else is noisy, you can mute them, or just turn down your own volume. (You can communicate using chat though.) When hosted, there is usually a very brief reading at the top of the hour, with the intention of helping writers disconnect from dailiness and slip into the flow state. If it works, it's like being swept away by a great DJ who just keeps you dancing. Transition? What transition? You cut straight from the Italo Calvino track you just heard read aloud to the trancelike state you need to channel your muse. Noise cancelling headphones are only required if your house is noisy, because the Studio is silent.
LOG | Brag, lament or simply record whatever you've written or edited lately. You can also tell the Room what you're reading.
CRAFT° | I'll be posting notes about different aspects of craft and method roughly every other week. Some may want that. Others may have no interest. There's no curriculum, just a collection of resources. My notes will include prompts. They are not an assignments, just ideas for ways of working on your writing. If you want, you can chime in on the current topic or post your response to the prompt in the Stream. The craft topics will be the touchstone for the weekly Craft Forums that take place in the Lounge. There will be special guests there, too, occasionally. It's all very informal. See the Calendar for current Craft Forum times.
LOUNGE° | At my old writers room, Powderkeg, we had a silent workspace, naturally, but also a wondrous kitchen where people could talk, and boy, did we. A lot was shared, learned and eaten there. Friendships were forged and cemented. I hope the Lounge of The 24-Hour Room will be like that. It's always open. Maybe you'll arrange to meet someone after a Studio session, using the chat. We'll also have readings, open mics and happy hours. It's where all the out-loud events on The 24-Hour Room take place.
STREAM° | The Stream is a discussion forum where you can post about craft, respond to prompts, announce your interest in manuscript swaps — or anything else literary. Let's not talk about demagogues or climate crisis unless they're the topic of someone's book. And no commerce of any sort.
PRIVACY / EMPATHY | This Room is a private group, a safe space and a place of support and inclusion. I would like our conversations to be governed by the ethos of Radical Editorial Empathy. Please read my note about it, if you get a chance. It's sort of my religion, and I'm seeking fellow travelers. If that takes too long, I'll sum it up this way: Be nice and keep your taste to yourself. Meetings will never be recorded, except possibly for some Open Mics or Readings, if all the participants want that. The 24-Hour Room has a listing for its members, but inclusion there is optional. If you do want to be listed, submit the form on the Writers page. Turning on your camera or using your real name in the Lounge or Studio are totally optional. You may never know if "Krazy Kat," whose window is adjacent to yours on the Zoom Studio, just won the National Book Award. Regretfully, I must also add: Always be respectful and please report any abuse of the virtual rooms to me or the Library Inquisitor.
WORK-IN-PROGRESS | I more or less invented The 24-Hour Room and built the site prototype in the weeks between the 2021 US Capitol Insurrection and the Inauguration of Joe Biden. It was an act of desperation, loneliness and hope. I'm not a web designer, though I did take an extension HTML course in 2004 and build my own rather hinky author website. There's just me here, plus former Public Space intern / future novelist Joshua C. Craig, aka the Library Inquisitor. We're utterly receptive to your suggestions. We've already taken a hell of a lot of them. Thanks for those. Keep them coming. We believe in revision.
SUPPORT | The Studio is open to all who join with a free Membership. If you find you use it and it benefits your work, please help ensure the existence of The 24-Hour Room with a contribution, which you can send to our Venmo account @the24h
°Other spaces in The 24-Hour Room, including the Lounge, Craft Forums and the Craft Stream, a discussion board where you can swap ideas ideas about writing and even manuscripts, will be behind a pay-as-you-wish-but-you-must-pay-something portal, beginning in March.