I have trained myself to write almost anywhere and in almost any conditions. I know some people need a quiet place to sit and write or they need beautiful surroundings to inspire them. I can sit next to a dumpster at an airport child care center while they test the backup generators and still manage to write something. It’s not that I can tune everything out, I can’t, but I’ve just learned to adapt.
When I was a kid and had to write something for school, I would blast my stereo with bands like Led Zeppelin or AC/DC and manage to get a twelve page paper written and get an “A.” As I became a young adult, I could attend a party and if the mood hit me, I could sit on the couch, pull out a pad of paper, and write a story or poem while the party raged around me.
When I was deployed to Desert Storm, I took my word processor with me…for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a fancy electric typewriter with a digital readout screen, one of the stupider purchases I ever made. Well, the sand made short order of that device and I had to write the old fashioned way, on paper. Somewhere in the desert of Saudi Arabia is a word processor buried in the sand…along with assorted military throwaways. I can see the future with this one…
ARCHEOLOGIST: What the heck is that?
ASSISTANT: Is it a computer of some sort?
ARCHEOLOGIST: I’m not sure…let’s carbon date it. Now look for the body.
ASSISTANT: The body?
ARCHEOLOGIST: Yes, anybody who would buy one of these had to have been very stupid. There’s no way he could’ve survived very long in this hostile environment. He must be buried nearby.
After the war, I had to write with the constant interruptions from my kids.
SON: Hey Dad. Whatcha doing?
SON: Whatcha writing about?
SON: What’s it say?
ME: It’s a fictionalized story about what I would do to a kid that constantly interrupts me while I’m writing.
A couple quiet minutes go by.
SON: I’m bored.
ME: Do your homework.
SON: I’m done.
ME: Clean your room.
ME: Go bug your sister.
A few more minutes go by. Screaming and yelling can be heard from a distant bedroom.
So all of this brings us to today. I’m sitting on a stool and typing away. I’m surrounded by unpacked boxes and piles of stuff that should have been buried in a desert somewhere. My printer won’t work, my books are scattered, and my back is killing me from the darned stool. Still, here I am, writing away happily because this is my safe place…sitting in front of my words.