I’ve started writing a new story. That’s what the picture above is all about. There are artists and paintings involved, but you’ve probably already guessed that. It’s very early days, but this afternoon I managed to write almost 800 words during my lunch break, which is pretty good for me. I was on a roll, losing myself in my characters and their story, but the clock ticked on and too soon I had to stop, just as I got to the bit about the lighthouse and the lavender oil. So I saved my document, emailed it to myself, went back to the spreadsheets and travel bookings, and fantasised about what it would be like to quit work and spend my days writing. Just writing.
It was a good fantasy. One I’ve had often, usually while clearing a paperjam in the photocopier. The fantasy involves a comfy chair and a fireplace and I toast my toes in thick socks while I tap away at my laptop, stopping only to sip hot chocolate from my classic Winnie the Pooh mug.
Sometimes the fantasy takes on a more tropical theme. A shack by the beach where I’d sit beneath palm trees, writing to the gentle sound of aqua water lapping at the sand. In this scenario the hot chocolate is replaced by a Malibu splice cocktail. And a bowl of hot, salty chips.
In some ways, these fantasies are almost achievable, if only for a weekend (and that would be the first dent in the fantasy, right there). I could rent a mountain cottage or a beach shack for a couple of days, but I know the reality would still fall way short of the ideal. Even if I had my fireplace and my comfy chair, the hot chocolate wouldn’t appear on its own (nor would breakfast, lunch or dinner). The fire wouldn’t light itself. I’d have to gather wood, and light it, and then poke and prod at it to keep it burning. The room would eventually become stuffy and I’d fall asleep and spill my hot chocolate all over myself and the keyboard. At some point there’d have to be a toilet break and you can bet going to the bathroom would feel like a trip to the Antarctic after the toasty, cosy fireside.
The beach shack doesn’t really work, either. I can’t imagine sand and laptops go well together. The Malibu splice, like the hot chocolate, wouldn’t arrive on its own, and I sunburn easily. And I’ve learned from experience that seagulls will swarm, and fight almost to the death, for a chance at a hot chip. It’d be like a scene from that Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds. They’d descend on me and I’d be screaming and flapping my arms while running in frantic circles before tearing back into the shack, leaving my laptop behind. From the window I’d watch the seagulls feast on my fantasy. And afterwards I’d have to clean bird pooh and bits of chip out of my keyboard.
So yeah, probably best to let the fantasy stay a fantasy.
Mind you, my real writing place is pretty good. It’s in a nook off the bedroom. My husband built my desk for me, and it sits by a window that looks over the garden and the bushland beyond. It’s beautiful.
And there’s not a seagull in sight