Bon Iver’s music room is a rummage sale and a museum, with the sense that it may also be a teenager’s lair. The table is shiny and well-worn in front of his chair, from years of resting his wrists on the sanded oak.
Instruments dangle from hooks and nails, enough to populate an anachronistic orchestra. The shelves are crowded with books and records, boxes of guitar strings, photographs of me, and countless stones and seeds and burrs and bones he’s found while walking the property line. A taxidermy raven with a necktie acts as a mascot. It smells like unwashed boy and coffee, pipe smoke, cedar, rubber, dust.
When he’s getting ready to write a new song, he spends a lot of time in there, just thinking and doodling around on his banjo. I can hear him in there now, working his way through a plate of gingersnaps.
Crunch. crunch. He chews. Plink plink plink plink. A pause. More crunching, and more banjo.
It’s his process. It’s his way. He is a man who creates beautiful art, and sometimes I am the woman who makes cookies for him.