Sunday, 2 March 2008

On wanderlust and the need for space.

Is it just me or are all writers (artists) driven by a need for experience, understanding and change?

Having resided in Spain for three years now (four separate addresses!) I got that crazy itch for movement, new shores, new people and traditions...more things to write about and dissect/devour when I have a plethora of ideas, characters and events still wanting to burst onto the page! There´s a time and a place, but they´re getting impatient. And so was I.

I am descended from gypsies: my grandma lived in a gypsy caravan up until she died at the age or 100 and something (the details here change depending on who you speak to). Like my father I am very creative and suffer from wanderlust, but is it to do with genetics or creativity that makes you thirst for more?

The wanderlust comes alongside a sort of freedom and anonymity also. The need for space to think, breath, just be. Without being something to someone for a little while. and so like a special gift came a Spanish bank holiday (Thursday 28th Feb) where everything is closed and you are forced to relax. And so...the result?

I had a fantastic writing day this week in Estepona - a little town in the Costa del Sol that is still Spanish. Just me, my notebook and some money had a date with the beach - we laid on a bench outside a church atop the hill and constructed a poem on wanting always what is out of reach called Restless. We ate pata negra ham in plaza de los flores, and some unknown spiky seafood in a boat on the shore which is used for barbecuing fish during the summer whilst composing a poem entitle periwinkle.

We also chatted to a clearly mad one legged man who believes he writes scripts for Stephen Fry and started out with an English accent and ended up with a Glaswegian one. interesting... (an hour of my life, a cheap sangria and three poems later...could one be called Mad Mike?) I gave him my website address - he may read this. Who knows? But that little bit of solitude and freedom to let the mind wander seems to have cured the wanderlust for now.

Kind of. I have the basis of around 10 poems from that day and so this week I am going to stay in Estepona town in a hostal and write in the mornings before work (pre 8am), evenings after work (post 6pm) and eat tapas/walk on the beach in the breeze somewhere in between. Some people I know think this is bizarre behaviour - but surely it keeps you grounded? I´m lucky to have two very understanding cats and one extremely impatient yet similar boyfriend who is happy to acknowledge my whims to keep me sane. Hopefully, he gets a good read out of it at the end.

But tell me - is it just me or are all writers driven by a need for experience, understanding and change? I would like to know.


John said...

For me, writing is more about understanding, I think, than about experience. Change is usually a factor, because, by nature, the universe and we are always changing. It's why it's so important to read books over and over. As you change, you read with different perspective. As I write, I write with different perspective as well.

But back to your question. Certainly I can't write without the experiences, but I think I just take it for granted that experiences will come and I can write about them. I really don't seek out new experiences for the sake of writing. In fact, I rarely find myself writing about experiences I've sought out. I generally write about the absurdity of life, the experiences I've had that I could never have imagined or planned.

I think this question is probably answered differently by just about everyone, and I'm interested to see how others answer it.



melon collie said...

I think it varies. For every writer who feels the need to move around searching for new experiences (to then write about them), you can find a Faulkner, who wrote just about everything staying put.

Personally, I've enjoyed taking a break from writing now and again, because, in my experience, the journey through time can be as perspective altering and influential to one's writing as moving to a new place would be. The fact that I really can't afford to travel around, is of course, another story altogether :)

Elizabeth Rose said...

John - i agree about the experience just finding you but I do have a need for more when life reaches a quiet stage.

Melan Collie - i love the fact you brought up about writing about staying completely still. I guess that we all do this to a degree and in essence both you and John are saying the same thing - it just comes your way.

I guess I do agree with you on the whole as I dont force scenarios to write but...I just love change, experience and learning and I guess that moving around is what brings me these things. I´d also like to hear more of what people believe...

The Scribe said...

Writing is being - simple!

I enjoy this site - it is challenging, provocative and inspiring - keep up the good work, Elizabeth Rose.