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View Full Version : Just So Where (yes, you read that right) on the Same Page, so to Speak



Susan Littlefield
05-13-2011, 08:06 PM
Don and I are in a small California village by the ocean. Three nights and two whole days. He's at a conference for Parks and Recreation. I am in heaven getting ready to write.

I sit on the terrace outside our room of a late 1800's hotel where we are staying. The ocean is to my left, the sun sun shining down on me with indescribable warmth. It's so quiet you can hear...the song of the ocean, the musings of the birds.

This is my three days of writing, in between meals and group tours, and a train ride tomorrow night. I am so jazzed to have this writing experience.

Please share with me your most exciting or unusual writing experience- where, when and how.

They tell me this place is haunted. I feel like I've stepped into a Stephen King novel, or at least the Twilight Zone.

AlanF
05-13-2011, 08:09 PM
Hi Susan!

Sounds like paradise on Earth. You are very descriptive with your words, so it was easy to visualize the bright Sun and feel its warmth--so happy for you guys. Safe travels. I find it most ideal to write late night on the patio under the twinkling stars, while listening to soft music.

Mr Flibble
05-13-2011, 08:17 PM
In a luxury hotel on the edge of the desert in Morocco. So quiet! That was sublime.

Trying to hit a deadline and spending a day of a cruise locked in my cabin to get them done (while traversing the North Sea and getting seasick) Not quite so sublime!

Maryn
05-13-2011, 08:19 PM
How nice an environment that sounds like, Susan. Enjoy it, be productive in it, and all that good stuff.

My own is more the result of a corporate screw-up. Mr. Maryn and I were going to see a performance at a casino a couple hours away. We thought we'd want to drink before/during it (it was comedy--always funnier when a bit of alcohol is circulating) and reserved a room at the hotel so we would not be driving home under the influence. We had the print-out of our confirmation and everything, but they had no rooms at all, so they got us a serious upgrade to the resort-lodge, which usually costs $500 a night or so. I'd never been in such a nice hotel room. Mr. Maryn went exploring and I took a couple of hours to write there.

Coda: the casino had an issue with its liquor license and did not serve any alcohol, not even in its restaurants. The bars were closed. I hear they're still dry. Politics!

Maryn, who took pictures of the bathroom

Kitty Pryde
05-13-2011, 08:25 PM
Camped out west of Paiute Pass in the eastern sierra nevadas, not far from Bishop. I woke up before dawn and wandered up to sit on a boulder and watch the sunrise hit the peaks and alpine meadows and lakes that surrounded us. I brought my pen and notebook. A few minutes later my partner joined me and we sat in silent admiration of the wonder of nature. I was soaking it all in, the muse was descending upon me, the beauty of the orange dawn light over the untouched wilderness was nearly overwhelming.

My friend emerged from her tent and stumbled sleepily over to a flat spot directly downhill from us, right in our majestic view. Then she dropped her pants and squatted down for a pee, and would have had one if we had not both yelped in horror and stopped her.

Kate Thornton
05-13-2011, 08:40 PM
I love writing in my beautiful back patio, listening to the dribble of the fountain & hundreds of exotic birds and sipping lemonade from my tree...with my AlphaSmart Neo on my lap on the redwood lounger, kitties fast asleep in the chair across from me. Perfect, except there's a tendency to fall asleep mid-sentence...

..

MJNL
05-13-2011, 09:30 PM
Awesome.

Last year I went to a conference held on a converted Rockefeller farm with my husband...only he'd neglected to find out whether or not people were supposed to bring guests. I was the only +1 there. I spent the whole weekend living like a stowaway (the conference dinners had assigned seats, so I was left to fend for myself). It was out in the middle of no where--an hour and a half drive to the nearest town. But it was really pretty, felt like an empty resort. I spent the days banging away on my keyboard and exploring the grounds. It was a fun little adventure.

Jamesaritchie
05-13-2011, 09:44 PM
I spent a month camping in the Lewis and Clark National forest, hiking, writing, and just enjoying myself. Didn't even take a tent. It was wonderful.

It would be one heck of a lot better, though, if they'd ban ATVs.

Susan Littlefield
05-13-2011, 09:55 PM
Sounds like you guys have all had similar writing experiences.

All morning, I have been working on the revising of my novel. I have gotten so much done. Birds talked to me, my friend tossed a pebble up onto the balcony to get my attention when her and her husband arrived. The birds sang me beautiful songs.

Soon, I am going to walk through this historical town, look in some shops, and then head up the hill to the conference center to have lunch with Don and our friends. Then, it's back here until I leave to go back to the conference center. We'll ride the bus over to the train. About the umpteenth time I've ridden the train, as I lived in this area for two summers as a college student (27 years ago). The last time I rode was with relatives and my grandparents for their 50th wedding anniversary.

Okay, enough babbling. Tell me more, and I will be back to share some more experiences.

Libbie
05-13-2011, 11:57 PM
Ooh...that sounds GREAT, Susan! Enjoy! Hey, it's Friday the 13th, so maybe the ghosts will be extra active tonight. ;)

I have to admit that I've never gone anywhere special just to write before. For me, the best writing experience is a trip to the library, where I can get some peace and quiet to hear myself think...which I can't do at my apartment, thanks to my dumb jerk neighbors! :P

Soccer Mom
05-14-2011, 12:08 AM
My most memorable writing experience was a cruise ship during a hurricane. Yeah. No one would go on deck at night, but Soccer Dad stayed below with the kids while they slept and I would sit by myself at a table with a fruity drink and write while the waves tossed all around. It was fantastic. When they confined us below decks due to the worst of the storm, I sat in the the big bay window seats and wrote. I wrote almost an entire novel in seven days.

We camp alot and I find I get so much done in the evenings with no TV and no internet. I just read and write around the campfire.

Have a fabulous time at the ocean!

AlishaS
05-14-2011, 02:26 AM
I'm feeling a huge amount of envy right now. I've never had any great writing places. I tend to most of my writing in my husbands Lazy-boy chair or in my office. Granted I should start leaving the house to write, I might actually get more done that way :)

artemis31386
05-14-2011, 04:05 AM
On a cruise ship in my suite. I didn't have internet and during the day I had the opportunity to observe these amazing things that got my creative juices flowing. I spent seven nights writing.

mccardey
05-14-2011, 04:13 AM
A piazza in a little village in rural Italy. The sun, the children, the bells... Must. Go. Back.

Kitty27
05-14-2011, 05:58 AM
In my grandmother's house on St.Simons Island. It was raining and I could swear I heard the voices of the Ibo slaves chanting on the night's wind. It was such a perfect moment of stillness,when you feel like you are in the space in-between,when you are so in tune with your words and book that it feels as though you are hanging between reality and fiction.

The night was clear and the air smelled so clean coming through the window. The words just flowed and I nearly forgot where I was. I was just gone in that moment that all writers dream of. A moment when you don't doubt,your inner critic is silent,and you are just plain old happy. You aren't worried about agents,queries,or anything else. It's just you and your imagination working together smoothly and firing on all cylinders.

JoNightshade
05-14-2011, 06:09 AM
Back when I was single and traveling abroad for school, I booked myself a three-day weekend at a B&B in Litchfield, England. It's a sleepy little town I wanted to visit because of my obsession with Samuel Johnson. I was the only guest in the B&B and the older gentleman running the house treated me like royalty and made me a complete breakfast spread every morning. I wrote most of a novel that weekend. Ah, paradise.

Nick Blaze
05-14-2011, 06:23 AM
What would be? A Buddhist temple, kneeling before a pond in Japan.

What actually was? Uh... Nope, nothing fancy here. Just a nice, quiet day alone with a thunderstorm outside.

scope
05-14-2011, 08:45 AM
I was ghostwriting a series of books for the late, great Dr. Jacques Cousteau. We met monthly over a period of two years, usually in California or New York. But this one time I had to meet him in France for what turned out to be three days. The first day we met in my hotel in Paris going over what I had written since we last met. The next day I spent aboard one of his ships, The Calypso, discussing ideas for the next two books. The third day I met him at his villa where in a beautiful, peaceful, tranquil setting I wrote a very loose outline for the work to follow. Wine and food was plentiful and accessible, as was he (but he always was--a great, great, brilliant human being). I am honored to have known him and lucky to have become friendly with him before he passed away.

Purple Rose
05-14-2011, 12:52 PM
In the middle of rice fields, by the pool of a B&B in Bali. I need peace and quiet to write. When I have guests, I either retreat to my bedroom which faces a lush garden or take a 10-minute taxi ride to a pro-surf beach. I don't surf but the sound of big waves hitting a massive rock is conducive to writing. I have tried but I simply cannot write outside Bali, no matter how peaceful the environment may be.

elindsen
05-14-2011, 04:26 PM
Why is everyone on a cruise ship? ;)

My best was in my house. I sat at the dining room table and cried while I wrote the hardest scene of my life. It was so liberating. Now that the weather is nicer, I'm hoping to work on my porch. We'll see...

Jamesaritchie
05-14-2011, 08:35 PM
While it doesn't seem as exotic to me as other places I've written, my favorite place to write was on a houseboat on the Ohio River. If it weren't for family, raising kids, and other logistics, I'd live on a boat. It's a great way to live, and to write.

Cassiopeia
05-14-2011, 08:52 PM
In a small bed and breakfast sequestered on a quiet street in a small suburb of Cape Town, South Africa.

Susan Littlefield
05-14-2011, 09:26 PM
Ooh...that sounds GREAT, Susan! Enjoy! Hey, it's Friday the 13th, so maybe the ghosts will be extra active tonight. ;)

I have to admit that I've never gone anywhere special just to write before. For me, the best writing experience is a trip to the library, where I can get some peace and quiet to hear myself think...which I can't do at my apartment, thanks to my dumb jerk neighbors! :P

Libbie,

I can feel the ghosts all around believe me- in the ocean where the ships used to sail, in the boardwalks leading down the mail street, in the old buildings that have been restored but retain the ambiance of the old times. It's absolutely beautiful.

I'm so glad Don came to this conference, otherwise I would not be in this beautiful place writing. This morning, he's bored with the workshop, so he's up on the balcony playing his mandolin. I'm here in the cafe waiting for my breakfast. I wrote earlier this morning- not much, but enough.

Susan Littlefield
05-14-2011, 10:34 PM
While it doesn't seem as exotic to me as other places I've written, my favorite place to write was on a houseboat on the Ohio River. If it weren't for family, raising kids, and other logistics, I'd live on a boat. It's a great way to live, and to write.

That is exotic...the sound of the flowing river, bird, and serenity. How wonderful!

Susan Littlefield
05-14-2011, 10:40 PM
I love everyone's responses. Even those most ordinary places can become paradise for us.


I'm feeling a huge amount of envy right now. I've never had any great writing places. I tend to most of my writing in my husbands Lazy-boy chair or in my office.

Special or great writing places can be anywhere you choose. A Lazy Boy chair sounds good too. I often write on my sofa, which is also a Lazy Boy, with the footrest up. Love it.


Nope, nothing fancy here. Just a nice, quiet day alone with a thunderstorm outside.

Uh...that is fancy, in my opinion. A storm creates wonderful writing energy, especially if writing a scary story.


My best was in my house. I sat at the dining room table and cried while I wrote the hardest scene of my life. It was so liberating. Now that the weather is nicer, I'm hoping to work on my porch. We'll see..

Wonderful! Don will be bringing me a bench soon for deck, which is out my front door. I may start writing out there on warm summer evenings or lazy weekends.

Jamesaritchie
05-14-2011, 10:56 PM
That is exotic...the sound of the flowing river, bird, and serenity. How wonderful!

And you don't have to stay in the same place two nights in a row.

Smish
05-14-2011, 11:11 PM
I like to write outside, so I'm happy the weather is cooperating again. ;)

My favorites places include graveyards and front porches.

And I'm very much looking forward to my vacation in July. I'll be sitting on a beach as a writer. I've never really done that before. ;)

bluntforcetrauma
05-15-2011, 02:21 AM
In the bat-infested bell tower on the fourth floor of the church where I lived after my divorce. Going to the kitchen for a two AM snack was always a treat when there was an open and quite occupied casket under red security lights in the sanctuary. They'd always bring them in the night before the funeral.

scope
05-15-2011, 03:16 AM
I live in a beach town, just 99 steps from the boardwalk and/or beach. This gives me some good options which I take advantage of year round, but always best in the spring, summer. and fall. At home there's my porch with computer, paper and pencils, lemonade, and fruit. Or I go to the boadwalk and find an isolated, comfortable bench -- sometimes I'll bring a chair. Or I sit on the beach - shortly after daylight when few people have yet to arrive - or - late in the day after most have left - the sand, water, and waves are always restful and invigorating.

Darkshore
05-15-2011, 05:06 AM
Sounds like a great vacation spot but I couldn't write like that. I'm one of those weird writers that flourish under stress and cramped conditions. Don't ask me why, cause i have absolutely no idea. :evil

Susan Littlefield
05-16-2011, 01:01 AM
Thank you so much for everyone participating in this thread. I am back home now in my cozy condo office watching the window blow the branches of the redwoods swaying in the the wind. Sun shinning through rain clouds. 55 degrees in the house, with windows cracked open. When I left, I had turned the heat off (I usually keep it at 60) and opened the windows a hair, because just last week I used the AC. Go figure with this weather.


Sounds like a great vacation spot but I couldn't write like that. I'm one of those weird writers that flourish under stress and cramped conditions. Don't ask me why, cause i have absolutely no idea. :evil

Oh, the mind of a writer! The village where we stayed, Mendocino, was where some of the latter episodes of Murder She Wrote was filmed Remember Hill House at Cabot Cove? This is where the conference Don attended was held, only it's properly called the Hill House Inn. Spectacular with plenty of history too it.

This little town, though, is way too perfect for my liking. I mean perfect. I saw no gas station, no school. The few tourists had their children, but I didn't see any playing in yards or just handing out down in the coffee shop. Saw lots of dogs, but no cats (okay, so Don saw a lady with her cat on a leash).

Imagine stepping back to a place in the 100's, except with cars instead of horse and buggies. I almost expected horses pulled carriages to stop in the middle of town, or some cowboy riding a horse to step into the local tavern.

As for haunted- heck yeah! I truly believe the place we stayed had some old spirits in there. Last night, I woke and was sure someone was in our room. I ignored "it" and finally fell back to sleep. Of course, that creepy feeling could be because of the deep sleep and nightmares every night. I kid you not. Every single night I had nightmares, which I rarely have here at home.

I did get some writing done in between the combined (attendees and guests) activities led by the conference. I felt very disciplined. What I learned from this experience is that there is story everywhere and in everything (in other words, this little town is probably a fine place to live, I just chose to see it a certain way) and that writing discipline is necessary no matter what your environment is.