Writer Geoff Dyer really, really likes to sit

The journalist talks about sitting on various chairs as if it is an artform

By Prachi Gupta
July 10, 2013 7:30PM (UTC)
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(David Shankbone/Wikipedia)

In the New Republic today, Ben Crair stands up for sitters everywhere, surveying writers about their specific postural preferences. For example, who knew that Philip Roth wrote standing at a lectern? Or that Gary Shteyngart writes everything lying down? ("As a result I suffer from tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, poor posture, and hamburger helper syndrome," he jokingly explains to Crair.)

The most entertaining bit, however, comes from award-winning writer and journalist Geoff Dyer, who has very specific preferences:

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Sometimes when people give up their seat for me—as they ought—they accompany this generous gesture with the words “I’ve been sitting all day.” “Me too!” I say, happily taking the weight off my feet. If I've sat on my arse all day—and it’s definitely my English arse I sit on, not an American ass—then what I most want to do come evening is sit on it some more. But I do like to change where I sit on it. In the day I'm at my desk in one of those Herman Miller Aeron chairs that make one feel like a mid-level executive with back problems. For a while in the afternoon I move to a red leather chair that tilts back like a prototype of the first-ever business-class airplane seat in order to read, i.e. induce a nap. Having recovered from my nap, I put in a further quarter-hearted shift in my Aeron before moving to the living-room sofa for some real sitting: sitting in the sense of almost lying down with all parts of the body evenly supported. “Up go the feet,” I say out loud and from then until bed-time they come down only reluctantly.

In other words, behind the success of any writer, there is always some solid support -- usually a chair, but sometimes a bed frame or just the floor.


Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Gary Shteyngart Geoff Dyer Philip Roth Sitting The New Republic Writing