Listen to Pilot Light

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Writer Traveler

The traveling life is not necessarily the easiest one for a writer. It can be inspiring, but also dispiriting at times. Writing in a SE Asian guesthouse sounds kind of romantic, but noise, unreliable electricity and the need to get out and find another place to eat, can play havoc with trying to write on a regular basis.

So I choose to travel as Paul Bowles suggested in SHELTERING SKY, moving slowly over the face of the planet. Rather than spend a night or two in Kuala Lumpur, my preference would be a few months. Then there is time to capture the feel of the place, get in tune with its rhythms, and learn to live well.

I am in Cambodia now, working in a bungalow that overlooks a river where I can swim in the afternoons. It isn't quite as idyllic as that might sound, for this the wedding season, and Cambodian weddings are loud, and annoying especially as the amplified music comes on at five in the morning and can go on until after midnight, with several weddings competing for airspace and earspace. But this doesn't happen every day, and life is usually bittersweet anyway.

I have started this blog to document my writing life and to take a look at various demons and angels that you encounter when working as a writer. I have been a writer for many years now, and all that has changed is my focus, which has shifted from nonfiction to fiction. Poetry has been a constant, along with my music.

I am finishing up a novel that I started in the United States last year, writing with a friend, Jim Beckett. We finished the cowriting and managed to remain friends as well, and that feels like an accomplishment. In a few days we will complete the last bits of editing and send it off to Rebecca, my agent, to see if she can find a home for it. The publishing world is one built on shifting sands, she assures me, and we will have to treat everything we do as another grand experiment. I am comfortable with that.