Isn’t it amazing what work a writer can complete just by getting the hell out of Dodge and camping out in a cheap motel halfway across the country?
I’ve only been in San Francisco a few days and have edited (to some satisfaction) my next book, including linking the chapters to the table of contents.
I’ve written in my Hobonichi every day. Even filled up pages I missed when I was at home and too busy or too tired to write.
I’ve sorted through my early writings, which spent the last thirty years or so in the basements of various houses we’ve owned. The amazing thing (besides finding them at all, or that they’ve survived multiple minor basement floodings) is that some of this stuff is pretty good! Not fabulous, because my style was still in its infancy, but I’ll still be able to use some of the dialogue.
This is why I never delete (or in this case, discard type- or hand-written) old writing. There’s always the possibility of a gem in the coal.
I take daily walks on Ocean Beach, early in the morning, before the beach is overtaken with humanity. I love walking it at dawn, when it’s foggy and cold, quiet and still. A lot of thoughts come to mind as I walk, about my life, about the characters I’m writing about, about poetry and the world. The Real World is chaotic; there’s so much noise that it’s hard to calm your mind enough to catch the beautiful. Walking is a regulator, it measures the breathing and clears the head.
Granted, I walk/run at home, on my NordicTrack, but it’s not the same. I’ve got TV or headphones on, and I’m paying attention to the Google map screen. When I’m at the beach, I mute my phone and won’t answer unless it’s an emergency.
For me, Ocean Beach is therapeutic. It’s (dare I say it?) my muse, my source for inspiration. It calms me enough so that creative thoughts bob to the surface. (So many, I’m afraid I won’t catch them all, but I write them down as soon as I return to my room.) It’s no wonder that I’ve used Ocean Beach as a setting in my writing. As you might know, the photo I took of the Richmond District on my header looking east from the beach is framed over my bed. Sometimes when I wake up at home, I might think I’m back in San Francisco.
So while I’m here, I’ll make use of the time I have to get caught up, refreshed and motivated.