Part of being a writer is being prepared to write whenever and wherever the urge/necessity strikes. For us, this has meant some pretty interesting places. Be it for a weekly Urchin meetings, writing an article, or just jotting down some ideas, we’ve had to get pretty creative. Luckily, that’s one of our strong suits.
Since arriving in New Zealand last October, writing has been a bit more of a challenge than usual. Living in a van for the first three months meant no electrical outlet to charge my computer and no easy access to internet. McDonald’s free wifi soon became my greatest ally for Urchin business. This plan was thwarted, however, when soulless McDonald’s managers began refusing to let people charge their computers while they used said free wifi. Not one to be easily deterred, I began charging my computer at every possible opportunity, including once in a public restroom, to be able to write later while camping.
But for all the McDonald’s and libraries I visited across New Zealand, the height of my desperation came in New Plymouth when my computer had 5% of its battery left and I had to post an article later that night. I frantically ran to three different McDonald’s, none of whom would let me use their outlets. The information was closed. I couldn’t afford to stay at a campground with facilities. It was 6pm and I was getting desperate.
I was in the process of scouring the basement food court for a mall for inconspicuous outlets when I saw it: a lone electrical outlet. In the children’s play room. So there I sat, amidst several coin-operated dinosaurs, under ghastly flourescents, in imminent danger of being bombarded by screeching toddlers, charging my computer and writing an article about choreographer Royston Maldoom.
I’m not normally one for lying about when there is perfectly blue water to play in. However, while WWOOFing in the south of France for the summer, my mother and I spent several days in Nice. With not much else to do besides lie on the beach, well, we did.
Pasty Brits scorching in the Mediterranean sun, tenderfooted urban folk stumbling on the rocky beach, and an obscene number of topless older women – there was plenty of fodder for my notebook. When it would get too hot to write, I would dash off to the sea, where, if you swam out far enough, there were platforms to climb onto and jump back into the water. Or perhaps it was the bottle of rosé that my mother and I consumed everyday that made the experience so enjoyable.
We’ve all heard stories of writers being struck by inspiration at the most inopportune times, forcing them to scribble indecipherably onto a wad of napkins or on one’s hand, only to wash it off later without transcribing onto paper. I try to be prepared always. At almost all times, I carry with me a pen and three notebooks, of varying sizes, not for any particular reason, I just realised. But every once and a while I’ll jot down something, believing that if I don’t, a wisp of brilliance would be lost forever! This most often results in me finding the note hours later and finding it stupid. I suppose this is a trial of the writer. A lesson to be learned. What that lesson is, exactly, I’m not entirely sure. But when I figure it out, I’ll certainly jot it down.
Oftentimes the need to jot something down occurs in a dark movie theatre. Thankfully I have a good memory, yet this still often results in my repeating whatever it was I came up with in my head and vacantly missing the rest of the movie. Priorities, I guess.