Yesterday I spent a precious hour working in a café in the Victorian seaside town of Lorne, knocking back the espresso (well, actually caffé latte - city slicker!) while sitting out at one of the tables set out on the pavement in front of the café. The experience was pleasant but a little disorienting; I started my day in bustling downtown Melbourne, but by eleven in the morning I was in this tiny little beachside town mixing it up with the locals on their morning promenade. The surf was rolling in across the waterfront, the sun was shining, the stiff coastal breeze was temporarily at bay, and the seat was comfortable. Nevertheless, I found it hard to settle in for some serious writing work.
Part of the problem was the limited time - I only had an hour before I had to move on to a project briefing at the local Aquatic Club, located near the Lorne pier. The other problem was the sense that I was only in town on borrowed time. I found it hard to settle in even for an hour because I knew I was zipping through, stopping only for a while, before grinding back to the city.
This reminded me that my writing habits are a little highly strung. I need a buffer of space and comfort around the writing moment in order to focus in and block out the extraneous. This usually means a period of mucking around prior to the actual work, and yesterday I simply didn’t have the time. Nevertheless, it was great to see the Southern Ocean - Bass Strait is wild, and the water is a brilliant aquamarine colour. The day was clear out to a very distant horizon.
I love being by the water, it is simultaneously energising, calming and encouraging of a positive brand of introspection, just the kind of introspection that good writing thrives on. I will plan a winter writing jaunt for next year, it’s a little too late this year, and I have other travel plans - but perhaps I will organise a trip somewhere with a view of the ocean, and stay a few weeks, giving myself the time and space to settle in and do some calm, serious work.