In which I write something, after having not written something for a while. And why might that be?
Things have been a bit quiet at BrettSpiel Towers recently, but I shan’t insult my readers by offering empty excuses. Suffice it to say: I’ve been away and now I’m back. [Small smattering of applause.]
One thing I can say — and I imagine any readers who themselves write a blog have already realized this — is that keeping the writing up, and not allowing yourself to be completely distracted by other things, is actually pretty tricky. Bouts of international and domestic travel probably don’t help, nor do a variety of familial commitments, but the one thing that has hamstrung my writing efforts more than any other has been a failure of technology. My old MacBook died a little death a few weeks ago (its screen failed) and what with the aforementioned one thing and another it has taken me until now to get back in the technological swing of things.
Which is say that, after some prevarication, I bought a shiny new MacBook. Go me!
The thing is, I have a perfectly capable, ir rather workmanlike, PC at home upon which a myriad of new blog posts could, theoretically, have been written. However, trying to write and think while perched at my PC was such an unattractive prospect that I never even tried. The essential joy of the laptop is that I can take it with me and sit and think and write ‘someplace else’. The PC is tethered and brick-like and dull; the wrong tool in the wrong place.
At least, that is how it feels. And this is not, lest anyone think otherwise, a Mac-vs-PC argument. I happen to have a Mac laptop and a PC desktop, but I think my experience would be exactly the same if the technological platforms were reversed. Part of this is, no doubt, conditioning. I have almost always written this blog ‘someplace else’ and so now associate these other locations with successful writing (and thinking). It may just be habit.
But I wonder if there is another, more essential factor at work too. Most people, one imagines, divide their world primarily into two: ‘home’ and ‘everywhere else’. Everyone’s notion of exactly what the term ‘home’ represents may be very different, but each will necessarily come with a host of associations and conditions.
My thesis then, is that for some, perhaps for many, those associations and conditions make ‘home’, wherever and whatever it is, essentially unfit for creative endeavour. Writers have studies; artists have studios. These spaces may be in the spare bedroom, the shed at the bottom of the garden or a rented warehouse in another city, but my guess is that regardless of location, they are, literally or intellectually, separate from the writer’s or artist’s idea of ‘home’.
It’s just a thought. But one that I am having here, now, in a coffee shop in Cambridge, with my fingers gently caressing the subtly illuminated keyboard of my shiny new MacBook.