Hello all! As promised, LATE Club continues through the hiatus. Incid, hiatizing is doing rather odd things to the Blue House: specifically, I’m unusually argumentative when I’m inside, even for me, and spend a fair bit of my time there in refuting Master Altis.
This month’s topic is tell us about your best places to write.
Honestly, places to write fall into three categories: places I put stories, places I like writing, and places I actually write. One could subcategorize further, but that will do for now.
As a rule, if I want to put a place into a story, I will not write one single word while I’m there – I’ll be too busy sniffing the grass, running my fingers over stones, or leaning back to get a really good look at the ceiling. Places I love, or places that feel very alive, usually end up story-fied to some extent. Occasionally, to the irritation of a friend who recognized a particular road and the house in… I think it was Bedtime Story… I blow real places up and add droids or subtract blatantly obvious landmarks that I don’t really care about anyway… to the point of nonrecognition. And then I put them in.
As for getting the work done, I like writing outdoors – developed a taste for it in the UK. There used to be a fallen tree, screened all around by blackberry bushes and low-hanging branches, looking out over a cultivated field, and that got me hooked. I appreciated the cycling-through of that field: rough, plowed, stony mid-brown; a soft fuzz of minty-green seedlings; a blaze of brilliant yellow oilseed flowers dying back over a few weeks to the Original Green; then the next year, nodding green wheat, crisping to a golden rustle late in the summer, as the blackberries swelled thick on the brambles and the leaves overheard faded to amber.
Mostly, I think, I liked that particular spot because that was back in the Breaking Point days, and it was one of the few places I could count on Obi-Wan to to meet me. I can talk to my characters just in the Blue House, but for difficult things I prefer to externalize, to go somewhere I won’t be interrupted, so I can ‘ghost’ them in beside me. This is rather difficult to explain. You know how you can usually feel it if someone is next to you, or behind you, even if none of your known senses is sounding off? If I have time to visualize really clearly what I would see, hear, etc. if the person I wanted were there, and then when I look away I can feel the – I’ll call it an electrical vibe, it’s close enough – that they would be giving off. On really exciting days, if the story’s going well and my imagination’s in overdrive, I get periphery as well. Just a smudge of color, maybe a slight movement… from something that isn’t real.
Back in the Antipodes, I manage to be quite happy with the plethora of balconies, courtyards, random benches attached to raised flowerbeds, and lakeside jetties on campus. Since posting this topic last month, I’ve given some thought to why I like writing outdoors, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is because outdoors is where coincidences live – and I’ve traveled enough to know two things: the world is a big place, but coincidences do happen. The uncertainty of ‘who will come past next?’ keeps me alert, and alert means synapses firing off, which means I’m in a good place to remember words I didn’t know I knew. (For planning, fewer words, more pictures and movements. For writing… words.) That, and I’m quite fond of the sky over small islands well away from the equator. (Not that I don’t like continental sky, but sit a Van Gogh and a Turner side by side and you’ll see the difference – they captured their respective skies the best, IMHO. Continents seem to have harsher colors.)
Not keen on writing at my desk, for some reason, which bemuses my parents when they find me cuddled up in my cloak under the desk. I find I generally prefer to have my feet tucked up underneath me – usually cross-legged and using one leg as a bookrest. And on the whole armchairs are not for work – and writing is work, ladies, gentlemen, bounty hunters, and fellow Jedi, let us not pretend otherwise – armchairs are for reading or conversation or balancing a laptop across your knees and bingeing DC TV.
So much for what I like. I usually write in the stray instants not long enough or convenient enough for other things. In the bus station waiting for the Route 13 which is late again. On the bus, scribbling happily in Aurebesh shorthand – I find it deeply uncomfortable to have people looking over my shoulder. In five spare minutes between lectures. In the car, destination no object. When you don’t have a lot of time, you spend it on what’s important to you. For me, that usually means something words-based: reading on my datapad; proofing my own work or someone else’s also on the datapad, usually by adding cryptic annotations to type through later… and writing.
I’m quite old-fashioned – by the way, Americans, can you please explain what ‘quite’ means over there? Batman is busy flummoxing me – pen on paper, preferably cream-colored, unlined, and hard-bound paper, but two out of three is acceptable. In the stray writing moments I write in biro, as less likely to cause mayhem when brought into conjunction with a tight turn. But yeah. I’m on the bus two hours a day, so most work gets done then. At the moment I’m taking a breather from War Stories and catching up on some reading on the bus – hence arguments with Master Altis!
The topic for next month is What is the most beautiful book you own and why? One book only – book, not volume, for those with absolutely gorgeous matched sets of LOTR.
Where do you write? Do your favorite places to write impact the words you put down? And… because it is a cold cruel world… do the places you actually write impact the words?
I look forward to seeing your replies!
Thanks for reading.