Perfect Place

My favourite time to write is in bed with my laptop at about 3am. The ideas seem to flow, everything is quiet, and it’s just me and my words. Alas, this is not the most convenient time for my muse to visit as typically I have to get up around 7am – either by choice or by other people’s noises.

I’ve always felt a bit homeless, lost and without a place of my own, and I’d like to change that. I want somewhere to put my books and hang my pictures and set up a massive computer screen so that when I write I can have multiple windows open and I can drag and edit my words without the restrictions of a 10″ notebook. Surround text. More than anything, though, I miss a place for creativity. Between the hours of 1am and 4am the house is quiet. There might be the noise of the occasional passing car in the distance, or my cat snoring, but it’s quiet.

Cue 7am. General ‘getting ready’ noises in the house can barely be heard, overpowered by my mother’s two dogs who run around and bark and my sister’s parrot who starts its shrill whistling and screeching and squawking. The amount of traffic increases, the building site at the top of the street starts up, and not even my cat snoring in my ear can block it all out.

Cue 9am. Everyone is ‘ready’ so there are fewer doors closing and footsteps on the stairs. The dogs are relatively quiet though there is the occasional bark throughout the day (they are dogs, after all). Begin Suburban Soundscape. Leaf blowers and lawn mowers rev their engines and neighbouring dogs join the chorus. The parrot continues relentlessly and I start to twitch with a pending nervous breakdown.

By 2pm my back aches from sitting on my bed or on the floor (the latter is most comfortable overall), the parrot has received multiple death threats yet it continues (I don’t know what I did in my past lives but I imagine I may have been a torturer or something equally cruel and sadistic based on this present life punishment), and very little words have appeared before me. My muse much prefers the early hours of the morning; the noises of the day scare her away. And why wouldn’t they?

Having a place in which you can write and be creative is considered one of the fundamental tools for a writer. It’s more than just setting aside time in the day to dedicate to your writing – what about location and surrounds? Imagine a place where you are at your most creative, where the words flow around you and through you, where the sounds are whispers of encouragement and the smells are your favourite memories.

Now imagine the opposite.

That’s where I am.

How do you create a space for your creativity when you don’t have a place?

How do you kill a parrot and make it look like an accident?


8 comments on “Perfect Place

  1. Pingback: To motivate the unmotivated « dodging commas

  2. Pingback: Lost for words « dodging commas

  3. Hey Stef I feel ya! There is something delicious about late night/ early morning time that stirs creativity. I used to find poems coming to me just as I was drifting to sleep. I’d sometimes wake up and write them down then I’d find that the ideas would just flow. But it gets tiring! Since Rosie was born I’ve just been tired all the time. It’s getting a bit better now though. Sending you perfect place vibes!

  4. I’m a 3am bed writer too! So comfy and quiet and I just know I’m not going to be disturbed for hours. I also have always felt a bit homeless and would love to ‘nest’ as I’ve heard it called. Make a place of my own etc.

    As for the parrot, thanks to the sinister side of my brain which possesses a dark curiosity, I found the following website with the top 10 common foods that can poison your bird. I’m sure you could ‘accidentally’ feed him any of the above and feign absolute ignorance.

    I assure you I am an animal lover…no really…I am!

  5. 3am?! Statistics indicate that 3am is the most common time at which violent crimes are committed. Interesting correlation of random variables! The parrot can take some comfort in the fact that it is not nocturnal. Do not bark at 3am dogs!

  6. Actually, a few years ago when I was in a writing group, i remember hearing about a lady who wrote a book and her writing time / space was in the loo. She had lots of kids, a noisy house and was famous for her “long sits” 🙂 Apparently it was the only place she could go to get away from the noise and kids… and she wrote the entire book from there. Not sure how much of the story was dramatised to make the point, and what is the point? There’s an interesting conversation to be had about the need for ‘perfect place’ and the fear of facing the blank page / canvas / score… we find all sorts of excuses to avoid getting stuck into the creative process. That said, given I’m the mother of the aforementioned dogs and a co-habitant with “The Parrot”, I can truly empathise with you. Let’s go hijack the local library!

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