Concerning the place of my writing, I know perfectly well where it is, and when and how, for that matter. To be specific, I like nothing better than to sit on the sofa in my living room, with my iPad on my lap and a cup of coffee close by. I find it best to start early in the morning, not too early after all, retirement has some benefits not to be trifled with. But, when I settle down in the quiet of the early morning and let my mind roam I can feel the ideas and inspirations flow, virtually without end; writing becomes a joy and an opiate, all at the same time. With these proper conditions and about an hour of free time to let my mind roam at will, I am unstoppable, I am almost guaranteed to get my daily quota of words down on this ephemeral, electronic, paper and more, and feel generally good about myself, certain that all is well with the world. If not, all the world seems to collapse all around me and nothing goes right for the rest of the day. I am thoroughly convinced all this is true, the knowledge is certain and has created a pattern almost unbreakable that I’ve followed for the last year or so.
And yet. And yet, I know it all to be a lie and a house built an extraordinarily sandy foundation. I know that the fact of the matter is every day when I sit down and settle into my idealized perfect situation, I will fight and sweat and bleed just to get 50 words out of a brain that suddenly seems to have turned to concrete. I know that some days I will come near to throwing the iPad out through the living room window that is my eye to the world and, in that concrete block of a brain I have, the source of all inspiration and light. I also know that if I pick my self up, run a comb across my balding head and head over to the nearest coffee shop, and if allow myself to just sit there for five minutes soaking in all the hustle and bustle going on all around me, I’ll be writing for the next two hours and some of it might actually be worth preserving. That’s the truth of the matter and I hate it and fight against it with all my might.
We all have the idealized picture of ourselves sitting in some cozy, richly wood paneled, book lined, study, tucked away in some hatch roofed cottage in the Cotswalds. We’re all convinced that if we could just find such a place, we’d end up producing the finest literature ever known to man. We know the struggle and frustration involved in writing and are convinced having the perfect setting will solve all our problems. I’m sorry, but it’s all nonsense. If you’re going to write, you’re going to do it by finding a chair at the dining room table, or a corner in the basement or in some noisy, nervous coffee shop, and sitting down to write. There’s nothing for it, you have to just do it. If I’d done that this morning, this post would have been much better for it.