Writing Trip: Spain

My husband, my son, and I are travelling to Spain today. We’re staying for a week: eating tapas, riding a funicular up Mount Igeldo. And then they’re leaving.

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The Best Part of the Best Part

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Unlike most, if I wake up tired, I have a choice. I’m in my pajamas after all, and therein squats the problem. The best part about being an author is, you guessed it, the same thing that makes it hard.

There are some writers who are able to convince themselves of anything. But if I could say to myself, You’re not tired, then I could also say things like, You believe in the Easter Bunny.

When I had a more traditional job, it was easier to see myself romantically, easier to fantasize stealing away minutes to write. It was also easier to believe that stealing away those minutes was the right thing to do.

So now we skip to the best part of the best part: being an author forces me to have a balanced life. If I wake up and I’m sick or tired or hung-over, I can’t make myself sit at the computer and write well. I just can’t. So if I want to be a writer, then I’ve got to get enough sleep. Things don’t have to be perfect. Occasionally, I row my personal best drunk. (That happened only once in my three years of collegiate crew.) But usually, that’s not how it works.

So, fine, go out and drink like Hemmingway. Early Hemmingway. Smoke a cigar. But then brush your teeth and chug some water and go to bed. After all, it’s easy enough to second guess yourself as a writer. Not working out or getting a good meal or enough sleep, makes it even easier. A good writer is a confident one.

Productive Spaces: the Productivity of being Flexible

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I have a small home office. Complete with desk, shelves, printer, ambient lighting, inspiring paintings, and reference books. But in the morning, the sun comes in the house here. It’s a an empty soon-to-be baby room with psychedelic wallpaper of safari animals.

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In the spring, this trees blooms, and so I sit here, smell here, have coffee right under it. Sometimes the neighbors give me long Dutch stares. Sometimes a child stops by with a soccer ball to ask me a question I don’t understand. (I know neither Dutch nor soccer.)

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In summer, it’s usually the backyard. Everyone is close at hand, but the eight-foot-tall fences allow me only to speculate, and hence, to write. A little girl yells. A bike bell dings. Someone splashes in–what is that?–a kiddie pool. A moped passes far too quickly in the back alley.

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And none of this is as perfect as it sounds. Sometimes the writing comes; sometimes it sticks like globs of crunchy peanut butter to the back of my brain. Sometimes it rains on my laptop and I have to run inside. Soon, there will be a baby in one of my writing rooms, and so I’ll have to move on. And that is, I think, what writers do: move on. Change perspective even if it only means the domestic scenery. Write in the attic laundry room where the morning light also comes in quite nicely.

(For a short piece of fiction on this topic, see “The Year-Ago You” published online at Tethered by Letters: http://tetheredbyletters.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=380.)

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