Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wherefore Art Thou Dead Body?

Gabriella Herkert, Catnapped and Doggone

Oh where or where would I like to write? Naturally, the Hibiscus Pool at the Grand Wailea Hotel in Maui comes racing to mind. Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to let your creative juices flow in eighty-five degrees with in-the-pool ice cream delivery available. I have been blessed enough to sit alongside the pristine azure depths with the lulling rhythm of the nearby Pacific waves and a journal ready to capture my innermost thoughts, my purest revelations, my most incisive insights – only to have the mocking recycled paper remain blank even as my mind hangs the same vacancy sign out for all to see. Yes, I would like to write in the most magical place on earth but Maui’s not having any part of me.

Where do I write? Yes, this is a completely different question. Alas, my geographic selection is based not on my aesthetic need for tranquil climes and postcard perfection but rather on my editor’s need for me to make my deadlines. Today, I write at my dining room table. Perfect it is not. In fact if I don’t do something about the broken leg soon, a dinner guest is likely to be wearing whatever Costco entrĂ©e for fifteen I am passing off as hospitality. I have my back to the picture window. My summer vista, a protected greenbelt that seems to turn my otherwise humble dwelling into a Pacific Northwest version of the Swiss Family Robinson’s treehouse, is too much of a distraction. I could, and would, spend the days watching the birds leap from leaf to branch. I repeatedly vocalize my dog’s need for a midday nap. She would spend the day tapping my lap with her chin and staring with over the top pathos in search of a petting hand. Many is the day that I heed her plea. The truth is I have become a procrastinator. Finding the right (write?) place has become one more way I have, as my friend Pari Noskin-Taichert likes to say, made my writing “precious.” Too precious.

Here is what I think about where to write. Anywhere you can. I have written reams in library cubicles, airport terminals and 5:00 a.m. Starbucks. I have planned glorious writing getaways to places where I never picked up a pen. Carry a notebook, a tape recorder or a laptop (I have a new mini-computer I love) and write in grocery store checkout lines, school pick up queues and dog parks. Keep an open mind and don’t lock yourself into the perfect place to write because most brains don’t work that way. You’ll be funny or scary or lyric in the least appropriate, convenient or proximate locations and that is what writing is about. Yes, your environment might inspire you. Or it just might lure you into playing fetch with the dog. Here, Koko…



Jen Forbus said...

You know, Gabi, I run into the same thing for coming up with blog topics. They pop into my head at the strangest moments, and I need to have something to jot them down on or they will be gone forever!

I also run into the same situation with my dogs. As they get older, they are more inclined to lay around while I work on the computer, but some days they are forever putting their heads in my laps or pushing the keyboard tray back into the desk. They simply want to play and they'll hear no other arguments on the subject! But after all, this is their house, and they are generous enough to let me reside here and clean it for them! ;)

Shane Gericke said...

Anywhere you happen to be writing is the best place for you to be, methinks. As long as the words flow.

Gabi said...


Blog topics aren't the only thing that falls out of my sieve of a brain these days. I would jot notes on my intrusive dog (she's currently prodding me with her nose) but she's black and it would be hard to read.


Gabi said...

And readily accessible chocolate, Shane. I mean, we don't live in the darkest Amazon or anything.

Shane Gericke said...

Mmmmm, chocolate. Now you're talking!