Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Two things

Last week one of my best friends -- someone who's been, literally, like a brother to me since we were 17 -- died suddenly and unexpectedly. Of course, I've been crying and thinking about him and going over my memories -- and regretting how many times I COULD HAVE seen him, but didn't, because I thought it would disrupt my writing.

Grace has been saying for years that I need to learn to write "on the go," and it's time to do it-- to say YES AND (yes, I can go, I can do that, AND write), not "No because."
"Thank you, I'd love to come!" -- to NY or London or wherever I'm asked; and I'll bring my laptop with me, get up early, and write. (Tips for writing when away from home eagerly solicited!)

If I don't learn to do this, the only time I'll ever see my adult friends is when people come here--which happens once a month at most.

The people I mostly see here, where I live, are 11 and under; and I love the time I spend with them. It's different from time with adults, because when I'm with children, I am completely present, focused on being there for them -- meeting their needs -- something that is probably all too familiar to those of you who are mothers. I don't think about myself at all. If you're not a mother this is unusual, I think.

Sometimes I am rewarded by a glimpse of the world through their eyes, as in this photograph, taken by an eleven-year old with his ipod touch: I called it Trafffic on Tower Bridge in my Patch piece about him and his Legos.

When I look at this photograph, it looks so real -- the angle of vision, the distance between the cars, everything. It looks exactly as it would look if you were in a car, driving over the bridge. He's created a world he believes in -- I'd love to do that in my own, on the go, writing.


JILL said...

Hi, Libby. We haven't met, but I'm a former colleague of Alvina's and a regular reader on the blog. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend and the grief you're experiencing. I can't imagine it.

As far as writing on the road, I've been traveling for a few months now and still have monthly writing deadlines I have to meet. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it, so I'll chime in: In my experience, it's easier than you expect, and can be nice to actually structure your time a bit more.

You may have to alter your schedule a bit, but you can stick to your own basic guidelines. If you usually write and take breaks throughout the day, split up your time on the road. Get up early to write for a few hours, then do the same before you go to bed after sightseeing or hanging out with friends. I find that even while I'm exploring and doing other things, the piece is developing more in the back of my mind, and I can knock it out much quicker in the evening.

If you work better in long stretches, get it all over with in the morning. When you're traveling with people, activities don't seem to become concrete until the afternoon anyway, usually.

Seeking out a good cafe/spot to write is a good way to walk around and see a place on the first day, or, if you write better without any distractions, staying alone in a hotel room without the distraction of internet can be a welcome change.

Train rides, bus rides, and airport waiting areas can be great places to get work done. Bring earplugs, and brainstorm ahead of time so you're ready to go.

I've actually been amazed how fresh surroundings have crept into and helped invigorate my writing at times.

Main thing to remember: The experiences are worth the extra effort. And bring a universal charger.

Best of luck,

JILL said...

Wow--that was long. Sorry!

Libby Koponen said...

Jill, THANK YOU! That's inspiring and really, really helpful. Chock full of good advice, energy,and optimism. Thank you!

Julie Hedlund said...


I'm so sorry for your loss, but I admire you for using it as a turning point to make sure you get to spend time with the people who matter most to you. I think we are all guilty of this in one form or another, and I always appreciate the reminder.

Not that you need to go spend a lot of money, but I've found that the iPad helps me write on the go. I can fit it and my wireless keyboard into my purse. Debbie Ohi over at Inkygirl has lots to say about it if you want more info.

Good luck!