Some places speak to you as a writer. They can say things like ‘Hello, I am your imagination’s nirvana and I will inspire you to heights of true writing mastery.’ Often it’s more like ‘Stop walking round and round this library cause it’s exam time and you have jack-shit chance of getting a better seat than that one over by the automatic doors and the garbage bin. Sit down for the love of god, you could have written the Bible by now. In three languages.’
Sometimes the places don’t say anything at all. They don’t need to, because they are the god damn Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth lovechild of places. They are the ‘Look at me I am GLORIOUS’ of locations.
They’re the sort of places you want to set up your little laptop or notepad or chalkboard or stone tablet or whatever you use, and write the shit out of some words. Preferably while wearing a tutu and sitting on your desk, throwing about your sensational locks. This chick knows where it’s at.
She has just found her LOCATION.
I will admit her gray room and lack of chair doesn’t appeal to me but each to their own right? It’s a personal thing. And I’ve been spoilt. Little princess that I am.
That is not me. That is a Chihuahua in a tutu.
I’ve been a very lucky human because over the years I’ve galivanted with Hubster all over the world. He has worked his little butticus off in each locale while I’ve had the luxury of time. Specifically, time to write.
This is also not me. This is a ridiculously cute dog typing his novel. He is not wearing a tutu. Bad dog.
My first manuscript was written in a veritable food court of places – Singapore, China, Macau, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Melbourne. I brain-stormed the original ideas sun-baking in Fiji, a pen in one hand, cocktail in the other. I wrote the very last sentence of the first draft in a bar in Wuhan China, a glass of bubbles awaiting that last precious word. Don’t hate me, look how cute I am in my doggy forms. I’m a Chihuahua in a tutu for crying out loud. And a snub-nosed black furry thing that can type despite lack of digits. You can’t hate on that.
So, in each of these places hotel rooms got old, real fast. They did not speak to me. At all. Rude sons of bitches, hotel rooms. All except the one in Singapore; the Amoy Hotel. The entrance is actually through a temple which dates back to 1824. I think I loved it before I’d peeled myself off the plastic covered cab seat.
The hotel itself is converted old shophouses, with uneven floors and narrow passageways and rooms with strange split level floors. History and heritage and all the goodness that comes with really old places was oozing from the 4-star walls of this place and the writing fairy in my head was on crack there.
Elsewhere though I usually searched out locations, locations, locations. Which mostly meant a cafe. Which in China usually meant Starbucks (you have permission to hate me now.) until I found a cafe inside the Hubei Museum of Art. When you can look up from your keyboard and see this beautiful man staring back at you, you can find the strength to tell Starbucks where to stick its Western.
But I have discovered after all this time that my Hiddles-worth love child lives a lot closer than I had imagined. The little blighter is down on that apple-shaped island that is so often left off maps of Australia. Tasmania.
I was there last week. Landing in Hobart on a dim, cold, wet Friday afternoon. That place should really never be anything BUT dim, cold and wet. It’s what it was born to be. Oldness might have been oozing out of the walls in Singapore but it is seeping out of the damp ground and clinging to the air particles in Tasmania. It’s the sort of place where you wouldn’t be surprised if some ancient deity popped his head round one of the 1500 year old King Billy pines and said ‘Do you mind? I’m taking a divine dump. Move along.’
There is something incredibly stark and lonely and ethereal about the Tasmanian bushland.
Even on a short hike in the middle of the day to a water reservoir (built in 1861) in South Hobart, the place just screamed ‘I’m so damn spooky and intense, if you were out here at night alone you would have died from fright about fifteen minutes ago and the ghosts of convicts would have eaten your remains.’
Convicts, or this little guy.
Either way, its a feeding ground for the imagination. Especially if you are sitting in this tub with a glass of motivational Tassie red to keep you going.
Whether its the ancient forests or the haunting remnants of the convict days, something about this place makes me want to go all bat shit crazy at the keyboard. Maybe its the way the place manages to make you feel small and completely insignificant. My imaginary world on my laptop screen suddenly seems far less intimidating. Stressing about what hair colour to give my main character, worrying about where to put a paragraph break or a comma or crying into my vodka-laced tea as I lament my writing skills seems so very human and futile in this setting.
So I have found my LOCATION. And it is most definitely a Hiddlesworth love-child.
It does not speak to me. Not even to say ‘get off my lawn puny fleshling.’
It does not even regard me with disdain. It hasn’t noticed I exist at all.
Exactly like its fathers.