People often ask me where my favorite place to write is. In a recent conversation with a new reader, this topic came up. The conversation is below.
Q: Are you usually in a place of enjoyment or pleasure when you write?
A: Oh, very pleasurable indeed.
Q: What do you like to surround yourself with when you are writing?
A: Oh, you know, the usual. I like to get my thoughts out wherever I can, so its really what is there with me at the time.
Q: You call yourself a traditionalist. Does this mean that you still use a quill and ink on parchment, or do you tend to be more modern?
A: I use a ballpoint pen & whatever I have with me to come up with the majority of my drafts. But of course, the final draft always comes out on screen. And I have to use my mac for that. Sometimes it’s easier just to type it once, because it feels more like something I created, rather than something I duplicated for the computer. But, most of the time, I don’t care where I’m writing. As long as I am.
Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
A: This is an interesting question. I know a few writers who would never in a million years answer this question, even if it was their publisher or senior editor asking. Many authors believe that they have a claim to their personal spot. That if others knew where their spot was, it would be forever ruined. I am not of this inclination. But I am going to say check out my next blog post if you want to know my favorite place to write.
This being the next blog post, you might be extremely surprised to learn my answer. Although there are many locations that I frequent throughout my day to think and write and create, there is one place… above all others, that reigns as my supreme portal for creativity and imagination. It is a place that I have come to be quite familiar with throughout the course of my life.
It is… [insert drumroll here]
The Royal Commode. The throne of my power. A celebration of God’s gifts. My muse. A place to pray, a place to think. For me, there is no parallel. This is a place of true wonders in terms of creativity and imagination. I can honestly create things while on the toilet that I am unsure if I would ever have been able to anywhere else.
My opinion of certain establishments has been determined solely upon the condition they keep their restrooms in. When I walk into a stall, I want to be escaping to a place of refuge – where I can forget about everything around me and exist in my most childlike state. I want to be able to leave all of the baggage and the bullshit of life at the door, and simply commune with nature in peace.
I have had some of the most defining experiences of my writing career on the toilet. There’s an extremely powerful and moving scene in one of my numerous volumes of unpublished works that was one hundred percent created while on the toilet. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the scene was pretty amazing. I was just sitting on my toilet at home, and all of a sudden I was speaking directly with my muse. Literally, I am not sure if it was the two voices of my conscience, or God and the Devil’s advocate, but I was catapulted into a viscerally shocking situation. And the only way out was through character development via dialogue with my muse. It was absolutely incredible. I lifted the conscience-examination format and transcribed it into my novel about a tribe of mercenaries in the next global ice age.
I do like to create in other places as well. Like, basically anywhere with food…
Or at my desk…
Or in the giant-ass reading room at my university…
Nevertheless, the place of my most valuable creation, the place that I enjoy working at the most, the place where my muse speaks to me… is the toilet. This might ultimately change down the road, but right now, it is what it is.
And as we go into the dawn of a new day, I urge all of my readers… go find your happy place. The place that inspires you to create. The place that gives you strength. The place where you can discover the missing enzyme to replicate an experiment performed in the field of bioremediation by a colleague of yours. The place where silence will give you the ability to compose a symphonic masterpiece that will inspire generations.
Perhaps it’s your backyard. Perhaps it’s your sunroof. Perhaps your happy place is a mile high in the sky on a commercial airliner. But, if you’re struggling to find your happy place, I can help out there. Just close your eyes and imagine a place that will take you to new extremes, and to comfortable destinations that are new to you, but seem to carry the weight of time. This is the place. You’ve arrived.
P.S. Yes, all the photos above are pictures that I took with my own camera. And this last one here? The letters tagged on that PFD stand for “South Whidbey School District Associated Student Body.” Just in case you needed proof that yes, I am actually a decent photographer.