My wife flew back to the USA today and I’m following tomorrow. This of course means that tonight I can either snack on whatever is in the cupboard until I’m too full to eat dinner, or I can go out to eat. I chose the latter. So, I walked across the parking lot to Casa 43 and planted myself at the bar for a quick bite to eat and drink or two. This got me thinking about how many places I’ve eaten by myself over the years. And that led to me thinking about how many public places I have written over the years. More often than not, when I go somewhere by myself I end up writing. It’s just what I do.
There are at least a couple cafés in northern Italy that I went to while visiting family. That was pretty cool and will never be forgotten. And, being we spent over three years in St Kitts I ventured out many times when the other half was gone. I can think of at least four or five bars/restaurants on that lovely island where I partook of food and beverage and then proceeded to bring out the paper and pen. We spent a couple years in Anguilla and I frequented the Ferry Boat Inn more than a few times on my own. But to be honest, there was more beer and friends than writing at the FBI. I don’t think I could begin to make a list of all the coffee shops I’ve visited all over the country through the years. And airports? I’ve lost track of all their echoing hallways and terminals where I’ve sipped coffee, or maybe a beer, and scribbled a few words or pages. NYC, LA, Baltimore, Washington, Austin, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Denver, San Juan, St Maarten, and a few more.
Once upon a time I needed peace and quiet to write, but as the saying goes, I had to adapt or die. I adapted. When I’m in a bar or café or airport, I simply embrace the feeling that I’m part of the décor. The noises that were once an irritation now flow through me like the sounds of wind or rain on a warm summer day. When I eventually stopped trying to tune out the sounds, and I stopped trying to create the correct environment to write in, I started feeding off the energy that constantly surrounds us. After that, writing in public became easy for me.
Music and clinking plates and waitresses calling orders or flight announcements or people carrying on conversations and a thousand other sounds are now not only not distracting, they have become my inspiration. Even a bartender asking me if he or she could get me something else to drink does not bother me in the least.
So these days I don’t wait and search for the right time and place to write. The time is now. The place is here. And tonight, “here” is Casa 43 on Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. And the guy in the picture is a minor super hero of sorts. His name is Taka and he brought me beer and tacos. What more could I ask for? Food, drink, a nice place to sit, and words to write. Nice.
So, when and where is your favorite time to write?