Having taken a rather long hiatus from creative writing, I let it back into my life late last year. My two children were both in school and fairly stable, and it seemed life was going to go fairly smoothly from then on. Of course, things are not usually what they seem to be, so I was not totally surprised when chaos set in to our daily routine once again. This time, however, I was not going to be defeated. I was going to write through the storm. Having spent the last few months finding opportunities to write in five- or ten-minute slots, and very-much “on-the-go”, I am ready to share four photographs illustrating where and how I write.
A quiet moment.
1. Our deck. I’m blessed to have a household of people who enjoy sleeping in. On the weekends, I sometimes manage to creep downstairs, make coffee, and sit at the picnic table, all by myself. I often spend more time watching the wildlife than I do actually writing, but at least I get some fresh air. The coffee isn’t bad, either. You can’t see the coffee in this picture. That’s because I had already finished all three cups of it.
2. My desk. This is where I do research, type up notes as I pull them out of my handbag, and procrastinate by checking on blogs, twitter, and facebook. I am thankful for the touch typing skills I developed during Secretarial Studies class at high school. Every child should be forced to touch type. The painting on the wall is by Huang Yao. If you love a good story, read about how Huang Yao’s artistic life and how it was affected by politics. And if you like art, take time to be amazed by his collections.
My desk is also the playground of my children, so I can sometimes be seen, head down at the keyboard, writing through My Little Pony video productions, twerking, jump rope practise, and complaints that mommy needs to get off the computer and cook something.
3. My local market. I often have 30-45 minutes to spare between morning market shopping and picking up my children from school. I have found a few spots around the market area that are quite inspiring, particularly for stories based on places and people in Taiwan. Always bustling with activity, these markets are great for studying people’s dress and body language. In this picture, you can see an almost-empty plastic cup. That was a lemon drink a lovely elderly stand owner gave me, on one of Taiwan’s hottest days of this year.
Drawing inspiration from the dumpling shop.
4. MacDonald’s. Honestly, there are not too many places in downtown Keelung that are clean and smell good. I’m not the only one to notice that. I passed a group of university students just before I took this picture, and they were keeling over from the smell coming out of the drains as they entered the KTV business. So, MacDonald’s is my go-to place when I have a few minutes between errands and driving back into the mountains to pick up my kids.
Here, I can pick up delightful bits of gossip, as people assume I don’t understand what they are saying. I can also study the rhythm of how people communicate, according to their ages and the topics they are sharing. At one moment I can fret over the toddlers left alone to play with their electronic devices, and the next I can be swept away by the tender interaction between a teenage girl and her mom. It’s also a great place to write chaotic pieces, such as my latest poem (another one as yet unfinished).
A quiet moment in the a/c.
If you enjoyed this insight into the writing life of a mom trying to get the words together in Keelung, you can pop over to my writing blog to read about my motivation for writing.