Wednesday, March 18, 2009
WRITING ON THE ROAD
From Marta Perry
I used to imagine what my life would be like as an author—the book-lined study, the latest equipment, the way my family would tiptoe around to preserve my peace. Oops! Somehow that picture has gotten a bit skewed over the years! I do have the book-lined study, but I’m seldom in it. As for the equipment and the tip-toeing family—well, my new motto is, Have Laptop, Will Travel!
It all started when my husband decided to take an early retirement. Not content to vegetate, he wanted to travel. One seventeen-foot motor home later, and we were on our way. Yes, I did say seventeen foot. I think we have the smallest motor home made, but we’re both small, so that works out.
On our first trip, I discovered that the laptop fit perfectly into the compartment beneath my seat, and my notebooks and other materials could live in the shelf above my head. What else could a writer ask for?
We left our Pennsylvania valley and headed west, he driving and pointing out sights, me typing away and looking up once in awhile to say, “Yes, that is amazing.” It’s not that I don’t appreciate scenery, but I had a book due.
However, I quickly discovered the benefits of travel to the writer. For one thing, nobody called to ask me to drop my work and hurry into town to help with the latest rummage or bake sale. For another, I was feeding my soul and filling my creative well with sights and experiences that I’d drawn on for years.
Across the country we went, only stopping our westward plunge when we hit San Francisco and the Pacific was in view. We felt like Lewis and Clark when we finally saw it!
Anyway, the point of this piece isn’t to extol the beauties of travel. It’s to say that a writer can write anywhere, book-lined study or no. In fact, I find some of my most creative writing and steadiest production takes place in the car or the camper. No distractions, for the most part, and something about the movement seems to lull my mind into its most creative state, just as it used to put a cranky baby to sleep.
So when the interruptions come faster than the ideas, my husband and I know just what to do—throw a few things in a bag, grab the laptop, and hit the open road!