Friday, August 12, 2011

Writing Space

NOTE: Retread of an old post wherein I promised photos. Here they are.
Writing on the boat with help from a friend

The office at the house

 Where do I write? Where ever I can. I'm a nomad. I can't afford to get hung up on the were's and the how's , and recently, the who's around concerns. If I want to write, I have to write, regardless of the histrionics and nuclear bombs falling down around me (some days, easier said than done - like just now, with one cat jumping on the other's head...)

So, nice sentiment. How is anyone supposed to learn how to write anywhere, any time? It all comes back to sacred space and ritual - something you've seen mentioned frequently this week. For my purposes here, ritual means a set of actions that act as a signal to the brain and body that we're leaving ordinary life behind and entering into sacred/creative space. Sacred space doesn't have to mean 'church' per se, though it can. It simply means any place separate from the rest of life - a time or space held in reserve for a specific purpose (and often, consecrated to that purpose, but that's a layer of detail we wouldn't get into here). 

Everyone who has a specific place and/or time to write, engages in ritual when time comes to begin work. Think about the repeated actions -  turning on the computer, maybe clearing away the paperwork from paying bills, the cup of coffee or tea. These rituals set the stage. They are the signposts that say "We're writing, now." And know it or not, you've slipped into a sacred place - a place wherein you're summoning gods and demons, creating worlds and life and breath. Likely, you have a set of rituals that eases you back out of that place and into the rest of the world where the laundry and breakfast dishes await. 

What does this have to do with my writing space? Everything. As a nomad, with no one place to call home, and for the past five months, without solitude, I have to carry my writing space with me. Inside me. Sacred space can't be attached to an external location. I'd like it to be. But for right now, my sacred space has to be inside me. That's the trick to writing anywhere. You retreat so that you aren't just anywhere. You're tucked into you're mental cathedral, or cave, or castle and you're writing. Regardless.


  1. I agree with you and Allison (from yesterday). It's really about getting into the proper head space. The rituals and sacred trappings are just tools to get there.

  2. I'm reminded of the turtle who carries everything he needs on his back, carrying his space with him.

  3. I totally picture you up in the crow's nest, your laptop balanced atop a pair of striped capri pants, bleached keds swinging in the wind.

    Did I mention the cats were steering?

  4. I totally admire the fact that you can do this. I strongly suspect that if I was floating around on a sailboat somewhere, with the Viking and Feline Assistants eternally present, that no writing would happen. Murder maybe. But not writing.

  5. I assure you, Kerry, murder has entered into the thought process on more than one occassion. :D So I started writing a story about an assassin.