Thursday, February 24, 2011

Geese Got It

On Presidents' Day, we went south in search of Snow Geese. And there they were. An enormous flock of geese from Siberia who've wintered on this Washington farmland as long as anyone can remember. We were riveted. So many geese. Amazing flight patterns. A shift on the left rippling as thousands of birds changed direction. Hypnotic. Made me think of writing. Not writing about geese. I was thinking about words. As if each of those geese were one word. A massive flock of birds, of words, making a novel. How sometimes the words are in sync, electric in the air. Sometimes the flock is at rest, and five geese, five words, shoot up and you wait for the mass to follow and they don't and you think those five renegades are doing the wrong thing until you realize that their slight variation is actually the best. And then the entire flock ups and double-backs. I could have watched the geese for hours.

I celebrate each and every one of those geese as I celebrate all of our words. The words that go together and the words that stick out. The words that rise up from the field and fill the universe with black and white electricity.

Writers... how cool to watch the flock. How cool to create.

For all of us, may this be a week of creation.

(another photo from Lee Mann, amazing photographer of the Pacific Northwest)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Donut Power

My last post made it seem like I do all my writing at home. True, I try not to spend everything on earning rights to a cafe table. But, I'm quite a public writer. In college I spent more time in cafes than the library; that's where all my S.A.T. teaching money went. Where we live has tons of cafes, several a short walk away.

But here's a new thing - doughnuts.

There's a place in town called Rocket Donuts. The owner loves donuts and 1950's sci-fi movies. Wacky black & white oldies play non-stop on several screens, and there's a life-sized rocket with flashing lights outside. How amazing to combine passions into work.

I've finished two YA novels and am returning a middle grade novel that has an element of travel between worlds. Where better to launch my return to the project than Rocket Donuts. I got sugared up, rocked out to Beach Boys and cool cowboy oldies that I vaguely recognized, and wrote. One of my nephews is into all things outer space, so I got him a Rocket Donut t-shirt last summer. Maybe I should get a t-shirt for myself for my new writing-wear.

Three cheers for donuts and whatever propels our intergalactic writing travel.

What propels you?

(Thank you to the Sweet Travel blog for the Rocket Donuts photos and cool pastry posts.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Where We Do It

What do we need in order to write? A desk, tea, quiet? A table, coffee, the distraction of a cafe? For some of us, it might not matter. For me, all I need is my laptop. Place is not important. Nor is peace of mind. Writing gives me focus, gives me peace. The more I write, the better I feel.

February 2010 in my very second post I showed my study – an old wooden door turned desktop and shelves filled with boxes for my projects. Now at a different apartment, my study has become more of a storeroom where I go to print or get a book. Instead of at my desk, I sit at the table where I can look out at a working harbor.

Last year on a cliff at the edge of town I liked watching the bald eagles soar every morning, kite surfers levitate, and the train pass hourly. I couldn't imagine a better place to write.

Now when I look up from work I see boats: the Alaska ferry once a week, the scuttering patrol boats, the schooners. I like the traffic beneath the window, the people waiting for the bus. I like being surrounded by lives I know nothing about. And I can walk to cafes. I can't imagine a better place to write.

What's the perfect atmosphere in which to write? I'm realizing that, for some of us, there is none. We just write. And it feels right.

What about you? Is location important to help you write?