SNAPSHOTS Winter Challenge

where do you write?

alto
alto
Dec 2, 2018 · 6 min read

I once read an interview with a well-known Canadian fiction writer who leaves her house every morning, strolls to a little English cottage on the far corner of her wooded property, and spends her writing time undisturbed; creating, plotting, considering, all while sipping hot cider, listening to nothing but the wind and the birds in the trees.

Damn, I want that cottage. Or, more accurately, I’d like the one above. Which I can assure you is in no way mine. Yet, anyway.

Dreams really can be wonderful, yet they don’t alter the fact that at the moment, I have no cottage. And, no doubt like many of you I’ve been working on “the book” forever. The year after grad school I rented space in what amounted to a private office. Well, that lasted a total of a few days. But I also wrote at home, at my desk, on the balcony, and on a couch. My couch, on my friend’s couch, on an antique chair with a pattern that appeared as if Laura Ashley herself had puked her flowery design ethos all over it. The country garden in a chair had been passed down to me somehow, from I don’t remember who. I’ve written in the food court of the Toronto Eaton Center (not my favorite spot), at Biffs Bistro, Jet Fuel cafe, and several dozen Starbucks in more than a few cities. I wrote on transatlantic flights, and I wrote at every job I’ve ever had. Even on the patio of my favorite family run Mexican restaurant. Where the pear Margarita’s could often make the task of hammering words out infinitely easier.

My point being, we all may have a fantasy cottage/den/desk, too, but what are we doing until that day?

The answer, if you’re anything like me, will change with whatever I happen to be writing. Being of the certain constitution that loathes formal outlines, I will run from them like the plague. But writing, like it or not, manifests from ideas in our head. Ideas that have a nasty habit of disappearing quickly and at random if not actually written down. For that, I’m partial to notebooks that are small enough to fit into my pocket or a backpack and can be accessed on the spot. Any kind will usually do, however if being completely honest I have a minor obsession with the Moleskin variety. Neat, crisp, minimal, great use of white space, they are, curiously, the complete polarity to my thoughts yet to be imparted.

With poetry there is always an intensely personal connection for me, so to feel more invested I always start from my hand, through a pen, onto the page. Usually it’s a page in this journal, handcrafted by a friend and given to me several years ago as a gift.

Most everything else goes into the computer first draft. Mine is a 27 inch iMac that often resides in various locations, the deciding factor being the view provided. For me, writing comes easier when I’m at a window. The dining room has been a favorite spot.

Or, when it’s not cold enough for my balls to freeze and fall off, like it was today, I’ll sometimes grab the extension cord and head to the deck.

The shed at the back of the garage has even been put into use as a writing spot when I am feeling the need to get away from the world and everyone in it. And just so no one gets the wrong idea, the lawn is David’s job, as this city boy’s experience with the John Deer is limited to none (the sole exception being the scene of a one time X rated encounter). Enough said.

Most often, though, my writing is done at the desk in my home office, simply out of convenience. A desk that has always been comfortingly cluttered as fuck. Thus the reason it is noticeably absent from this piece.

I suppose in an ideal world, I’d always write in a setting where I feel familiar, relaxed, and have Mr. Moles at my side or close by chasing butterflies. Though as already noted, we don’t reside in an ideal world, making the requirement prohibitive and limiting. So, I do what I think we all do. I make it work where and however I can. Because if writing needs to be more about the setting than the actual written words, it’s probably time to step out of my ego and quit being so precious.


Your Turn

Show us where you work your magic.

Rules

  • “Where” is defined broadly here. It could be a physical location, or it could be more exacting, like paper or computer. Or it could be both. The goal is to give us a peak into the places, tools, and ideas which define your creative process.
  • Use between 1 and 10 images.
  • Though not required, you may include a narrative to support your images, but please keep it under 500 words.
  • Please include a title of your choosing and place it BELOW your first image. I realize I probably sound like a dog with a bone on this one, but if entries are not formatted the same, it screws up the homepage rendering and reformatting your submissions adds a lot of extra work for your editors. Submissions not formatted in the manner requested will not be considered until they have been formatted correctly.
  • Please include the subtitle “where I write”.
  • Please include the tags photography and writing space. Submissions without the required tags will not be considered until the tags have been added.
  • There is no time limit for this challenge.

Participation

This challenge is open to anyone with an active Medium account. Not yet a writer for us? Here is a link to our SNAPSHOT information page. Take a look at it, review our submission guidelines, and if you think you’d like to participate then leave a response in the comment section below the article asking to be added as a writer. One of the editors will get back to you shortly letting you know you’ve been added.

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SNAPSHOTS

An art and photography publication focused on visual narrative in storytelling.

alto

Written by

alto

Flight paramedic turned MFA creative non fiction grad. HIV researcher. ENFP. Poetry, memoir, intersectionality, photography, art, dogs. https://allanrae.com

SNAPSHOTS

SNAPSHOTS

An art and photography publication focused on visual narrative in storytelling.

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