Tuesday, July 10, 2012

When Writing, Does Location Matter?

About a year ago, I took over a small room at the end of my upstairs hallway and designated it the writer's room.  I'm lucky that my husband doesn't have any use for the room, so every chance I get, I take a few moments and  lock the door.  The room transforms into my personal creative space.
But is it necessary to have a room of one's own?  Virginia Woolf explored this topic in her famous book of the same title.  Now please don't think that I'm arrogant enough to compare myself to the likes and caliber of Virginia Woolf.  But I do think she had a point.

For me, it's a break. In the mornings, I go into the writer's room, turn on my computer and wait for the brilliance to flow from my fingers.  Most mornings what I write and it is not exactly brilliance (sometimes it is not exactly coherent); but it is a chance for me to sit and ponder my novel.  It is also a time for me to drink my coffee and look at my storyboard.  That isn't to say, though, that I don't get out and find other places to write.

Cafes are a nice alternative to sitting in a room and writing by myself.  I feel comfortable and it provides an opportunity to be around other writers. There is an attitude out there, however, that real writers are not in cafes.  

Some writers believe that one should be hunched over a desk, in a dimly lit room scrutinizing every sentence. Others believe that real writers are in bars, discussing tales of drunken debauchery, stabbing each other in the back with one hand, while refilling their each other's scotch glass with the other.   

I wonder though, as I sit in both cafes and in my writer's room, if the location has an effect on my writing.
Looking back through my journals, I always include the dates, but never the location.  Most entries have been written when I was sitting in a parking lot while my husband is in Future shop.  Though the quality of the writing isn't all that different, the tone certainly is.  If I'm in a parked car with screaming children in the back seat, my writing is blunt, chalked full of exclamation points and spelling mistakes.  If I'm in a cafe, I write in a much happier tone (go figure).  The same is for my writer's room. I am calmer and more productive.

But as for an exploration on what constitutes a real writer, I think I've stumbled on the answer.  Here's the truth. Writers are writing. It's what we do. It doesn't matter if it is in a cafĂ©, parked car or in a designated room. It also doesn’t matter what one is writing, as long as the words are coming out.  If you consider yourself a writer and you are writing, then you are real.

Write on!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reading tomorrow at Molly's

odd sundays at molly’s, Fredericton’s longest-running, semi-monthly, poetry-reading series presents local writers group, The River Girls December 18.
Featured readers, The River Girls: Andrea Kikuchi, Heather O'Connell, Jeannie Chiasson, Anne Leslie, Charlotte Valliere, and Michelle Monette
Open Set, & Book Draw
Sunday, December 18, at 2pm
Come to Molly’s Coffee House, 554 Queen Street –buy a drink and/or lunch, and listen.

Andrea Kikuchi lives in Saint John with her husband and two children. Japan and the Police was published in The Tokyo Notice Board (2006); Lisa and The Time of the Greatest Quiet was published by Broken Jaw Press (2010). Her novel-inprogress, Gaijin, is based on her experiences teaching in Japan.

Heather O'Connell has been published in Everyday Fiction and 365 Tomorrows, and is currently working on a couple of novels. She teaches her students to wake up the stories in their minds and write them down.

Jeannie Chiasson is an elementary school teacher who hopes to publish her first children’s novel, And the Tower Came Tumbling Down in the near future.

Anne Leslie’s freelance articles have been published in Atlantic Progress, Dimensions Magazine, the Brunswick Business Journal and read on CBC Radio. Flash fiction and postcard stories are her favourite forms of writing.

Charlotte Valliere lives with her companion cat in Saint John, where she is worksing on her first novel, Searching for Shunata, while making her way back to the things closest to her heart.

Michelle Monette, mother of three caring and creative young adults, teaches ESL at UNBSJ. She writes stories about the Maritime places and people she has come to know best.

The River Girls writing group meet bi-monthly and often enjoy full-day writing retreats. Besides the five featured readers, other members include: Andrea Quigley, Kim Bent, and Yolande House, who is currently in Korea teaching ESL.