Everyone knows JK Rowling got her inspiration for Harry Potter on a train ride from Manchester to London in 1990 and wrote the manuscript in a series of Edinburgh cafes. But John le Carré used his daily commute on train rides from Buckinghamshire to London to draft his debut novel, Call for the Dead. Gertrude Stein reportedly wrote in her Model T Ford parked in various parking lots, while Maya Angelou chose hotel rooms with everything removed from the walls to minimize distractions. D. H. Lawrence wrote alfresco, in pine forests, and Dame Edith Sitwell opted for a pine box. Yes, as in a coffin.
With quarantine restrictions easing I am eager to explore alternative possibilities for inspiring locations. Writing on trains conjures romantic thoughts of the Orient Express, the 1930s, and Agatha Christie. But you won’t find me attempting to write in any moving vehicle due to my motion sickness. Pre-lockdown, coffee shops were an excellent solution, but I am not brave enough to entertain the logistics required to maintain proper physical distance while distracted. Parking lots with access to free WiFi would be an option, except that I drive a tiny two-seat sports car. Her steering wheel eats into any space available for my laptop. And I will have to give a coffin a hard pass.
In the past, I have written in doctor offices, hospital rooms, waiting areas, stairwells, lobbies, grocery store lines, and airport boarding zones. None of them are appealing now. The best I can hope for is warmer weather, sunshine, and a comfy chair on the patio.
Have you considered alternate locations?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer