Monday, May 29, 2006

Great Writing Day

To celebrate Memorial Day, I ran away from home. Early this morning, while the kids were still asleep, I kissed my groggy husband goodbye and took myself and my laptop to the mall. Scattered throughout our mall are cushy leather chairs, end tables, and plants set in cozy seating groups. I picked a chair in the center of the mall, near an electrical outlet, and settled in with my laptop and a latte.

I arrived so early that at first the place was pretty quiet—just me and a couple dozen spry senior citizens, completing their morning laps. But it was Memorial Day, and a stormy Memorial Day at that, certainly not backyard barbecue weather, so soon the mall filled to frenzied capacity.

And in the middle of it, I wrote. Some writers need calm and quiet in which to write, but for me, a buzzing shopping center is the perfect writing environment. At the mall, I'm not distracted by laundry, dishes, the television remote, or email, and the activity creates a kind of white noise that insulates me. All those people keep me from feeling lonely, but, unlike my children, husband, and dog—and the guy at the espresso bar who made my latte—I don't have to interract with them. I like the feeling of having the world go by around me as I work.

As soon as I got there, I dove into a chapter I'd started yesterday, and I wrote until at last the chapter was finished. I looked up and realized I'd been sitting in that leather chair, without getting up to look in the refrigerator, make more coffee, or otherwise distract myself, for two solid hours. I was astonished.

And starving. I toodled down to the food court, where I started the next chapter while nibbling on orange chicken and fried rice. An hour and a half later, my brain was beginning to feel tapped out, so I loaded my laptop, the cute little capri pants I'd found on sale at JC Penney as I stretched my legs after lunch, and myself into my car and drove home dizzy with joy at the terrific writing day I'd had.

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