Recently, it’s come to my attention, most writers don’t spend as much of their time writing as they do thinking. Though I already know this about myself, I have only just given it some thought. Although it is crucial that the keys on a typewriter are being pounded out, thinking is important. I was watching a marvelous documentary, California Typewriter; if you love typewriters you need to watch it. In the film, writer David McCullough is showcased as one who uses a typewriter. He was talking about how he goes out to his writing shed, and many times people could walk by the window and wonder what he’s working on, considering he sits there thinking. Not typing, Not writing. Thinking. But to a writer, thinking is writing.
I read an essay by Naeem Murr about his poet wife, Averill Curdy. For those interested in a poet romantically, read this article.—> My Poet. How as a poet, she spends a lot of time reading or not writing. Staring out a window thinking. Spending a morning madly scribbling ten ‘hopeful’ lines of poetry. I can completely relate. I am a fairly prolific writer, or so my friends and writer colleagues tell me. This last week I wrote 4 good poems, though I swear it was five. Even Lucifer was impressed at the amount since he says he gets out about a quarter of that. It might have actually been a quarter of a poem, but I can’t remember. This is actually unusual for me. One poem a week is grand; two extraordinary. Most of my time I’m dabbling in random lines. A journal entry. Reading. While I don’t have as much time to read, nor the patience, there is almost always a book in my hand. Be it poetry or, hopefully, some fiction. I spend most of my time working out things in my head. Days later I’ll come back to paper and jot it down. I could easily sit out in the sun with a scrap of paper, just in case, and think for ages.
This is why writers need their own writing space. Where they can’t be judged for not pounding out the words. Where, if they spend an hour shooting a rubber band at the ceiling and catching it, no one will say a thing. (I’ve never done it for an hour, but I have done it.)
This last Thursday, I spent the entire day working on a 43 line poem. The whole day to not even fill up an entire page. I’d work on it for a bit, get stuck, go wash the dishes, work again, fix lunch, back and forth. There was a lot of time not writing. A lot of time staring at the page, or pages of ideas, flipping things around until they worked. At one point I asked the family to give me a synonym for a word. The thought was expressed that the reason writer’s needed their own space was so they didn’t have to ask such questions of non-writers. They can go out to their own space and be far away from the ordinary person. I could take the mocking the other day because the thought of my own writing place over a projected garage, sounds ideal.
While I like being around people, and I need it, I also need far away. Or like on Saturdays, a place where other writers gather and are quiet. There is something about being with writers that is calming, even when chatting. It always goes back to quite and writing.
Lucifer mentioned recently that he loves to go fishing and for the most part, I could do without that pastime. However, I’m going to have to see if he’ll let me tag along once the weather is conducive. He can fish and I can write. Or read. Or, gasp, that glorious feeling of being in nature with the sun, sky, water, and trees around, and think. Now that sounds divine. Granted, when I get with Lucifer, I don’t shut up much, unless he shuts me up. (He’s actually good at it) But I’d like to have some space and peace and quiet. No distractions. . . .Okay, that’s actually conditional as nature distracts me constantly. As well as Lucifer, but it’s the kind of distractions that all us writers need. The power to think. And some distractions are better than others.
Non-writers, (there should be a word like ‘muggles’ for non-writers) will never understand the not writing to write ratio. I can’t even fully explain it, but without it, I know I would never write very good things. It’s just one of those factors you can’t explain. This was something I tried to explain to my Chef when I said I needed more time to write. Working over 40 hours a week does not leave time to write, and by write, I mean thinking as well! That was before my crash, but still. Even my family doesn’t quite get it. It’s okay. So long as I have space, and the time to get away here and there, it works for the most part. I could use my butler, Sven, but since he’s constantly not working, well, I guess I’ll have to tackle house work on my own.
Now I need to get my writing place! And it needs to be comfy! Preferably one with a table for my typewriter (and the other one I want to get), my laptop, windows, and lots of bookshelves. A couple nice chairs and a love seat or couch… I’m really dreaming here. Oh, and a good sound system. So I can blast the jazz. Picture it. A hot summer night, windows open and the light is on in the garret as the sounds of trumpets float out of the open windows…. Don’t forget the crickets and the sweet smell of hot summer sun baked pine trees.