I have previously reflected on my curiosity about the creative spaces used by other writers. In part, seeing the workspace of writers, particularly those I admire, was meant to perhaps provide motivation to help get past those occasional – and occasionally much longer-lasting than I’d like – hurdles of the writers’ block variety that have oft plagued in the past year or so. I suppose it isn’t so much that I want to replicate their spaces per se, though I have to admit I would be thrilled to be able to afford to build a replica of some of the great writing spaces I’ve seen.
Lately I have added a new environment to the mental list of places in which I’d like to write: a mobile one.
Though I watched all six seasons of Breaking Bad within the past six months or so, my affinity for recreational vehicles is not born of Walter White worship. And though I occasionally fancy myself as a low-grade superhero, neither is my Winnebago wistfulness derived from the exploits of Billy Batson and his mentor. My interest in the traveling muse mobile, I think, originates with Sam Walton.
The Wal-Mart founder was, allegedly, a big fan of the rv lifestyle, whatever that may mean. As RV's became larger, and the costs of renting a spot and plugging in at a campsite increased, Walton determined that Wal-Mart parking lots being vacant for the late evening and middle of the night hours, would make for good temporary, overnight parking spots for the rv enthusiast. To be sure, it's likely Mr. Walton, retail capitalism defined, saw the potential for a bunch of happy campers, so to speak, waking up in the parking lot, recognizing they're in need of groceries or supplies and stocking up before they move on to the rest of their destination, even if that was just the Wal-Mart parking lot a day's drive down the highway. But his passion for the motorhome experience became, for a time at least, corporate policy, and while he was alive, traveling rv'ers were welcomed in the parking lots of Wal-Marts across America, an experience that has been well documented.
For some reason, I find this incredibly motivating.
Part of it stems from a story that I would love to write: I want to rent an RV (buying one based on the royalties typically earned by a Canadian author is out of the question), drive around North America, documenting and telling the stories of the people I'd meet at Wal-Marts along the way. I'm sure it's been done, though I have yet to find a version that is the story as I would expect it to be told. But the experience itself is a story, or at least a big part of it. The idea of driving around, seeing things at a pace that can't be matched by aircraft, being able to pull over, whip out the laptop and contribute to a story, whatever that story may be (assuming I can get Graydon Carter to pay my expenses I assume it's the traveling RV writer piece, with a bit of the novel on the side). Even the mental image of sitting at the table, scenery passing by (keep in mind I've passed driving duties off to my wife at this point), inspired by the travels, is incredibly satisfying.
In fact, I have a young adult novel brewing in the back of my mind that has evolved out of the mental imagery created by motorhome travel daydreams. Were it not for the incredible delay in reaching the end of W3.doc, I would consider venturing into that literary territory right now - assuming I could get hold of the RV.
My wife, always my biggest supporter, was initially not quite as on board with getting on board a rolling homestead as I. Of course, once she came up with her own story to write, inspired by my imagined road trip, we're thinking of ourselves as more Jonathan and Faye Kellerman than Doug and Carrie Heffernen or Phil and Claire Dunphy.
I would even consider giving up my backyard, writing shack in exchange for a not terribly mobile WV (I think of it more as a writing vehicle than a recreational one) that could live in what would admittedly need to be a bigger back yard. Some writers, not having room in the house for an office or loft, move their writing to the driveway inside a writing trailer, which has the dual function of being a nearby but separate writing space that could also be mobile. This remodelled classic belonging to my friend and improv comedienne extraordinaire, Margret Nyfors, would suit me just fine.
Of course, it isn't at all beyond the scope of possibility that my WV quest is yet another in a long line of things I think I need to keep me writing or get me writing more. And there's little evidence to support the idea that would happen.
On the other hand, one never knows until one drives.
Next week: Me and NanaRimo