Tag Archives: place

Getting started on home and place

It is Monday afternoon already. Where did the morning go? We’ve been here in Laos five weeks now, and in the midst of all the different beds we’ve been sleeping in and all the suitcases we’ve been living out of, I’ve been trying very hard to keep some things constant:

(A) get up when Mike does at about 6:15; and

(B) keep mornings set aside as “working on the book” time.

Roosters and a restless husband have made the first resolution relatively easy to keep (except on the couple of mornings last week when Mike left our bed in the 3’s – last week was not a good sleep week in our household). But as for the second, I’m starting to wonder whether that one is only going to get more challenging the more we settle into a “real life” routine here.

Last Monday we were still camping out at someone else’s house. Their maid did our laundry and washed the dishes. I had a choice between writing or lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling fan. (Or, to be fair, walking down the street to the Lao Red Cross and getting a massage). But given that not even I can take an entire day of massage, staying focused every morning was easy.

But this Monday morning, at our new place with working internet, there were dishes to be washed, beds to be made, Terms of Reference for consulting projects to be drafted, parents to catch up with, friends in Australia to hear good news from, nutella to get out of the new ant-proof pantry and eat straight from the jar, and handymen to wait for.

(The handymen will, I hope, address the upstairs AC, the broken bed frame, the non-functioning hot water heater, and the toilets – we are down to only one fully functional toilet – before our first guests arrive tomorrow.)

So book time this morning has been a bit squeezed. As in “non-existent”.

And now it’s Monday afternoon and I’m trying to get myself back in book zone. The chapter I’m working on at the moment deals with the theme of home as place. In the first draft of the book this particular chapter opens and closes in Kenya after a brief detour to Tanzania. The middle scene is set primarily in Hawaii. I have not lived any of those places. And I find myself looking at the chapter now knowing it needs significant rewriting and not knowing quite sure where to start.

Mind you, that’s nothing new. When it comes to writing I often don’t know exactly where to start until long after I’ve actually started.

You’d think that knowing this about myself would make it easier to just get on with it and get started writing something. Anything.

It doesn’t.

It makes me yawn and want to write blog posts instead. It makes me want to lie down and read someone else’s book. It makes me look around our place and wonder whether the new plants need water. For, after a weekend packed full of sweaty shopping from roadside stalls we have plants now. And a bamboo bookshelf. And dishes. And a small glass teapot just the right size for me to make myself a pot of tea for when I’m working. And the cutest wood and mesh ant-proof pantry that we’ve carefully stood in plastic bowls full of baby-powder (which sort of ruins the cute look a little, but if kept ants out of the cereal I’ll take it).

But it’s Monday. And I know I’m not going to be able to figure out where to start writing until I after I’ve started writing. So I better get out that teapot, fill it, and (yawn) get started.

But, first, a quote that made me laugh last week.

“One’s home is like a delicious piece of pie you order in a restaurant on a country road one cozy evening – the best piece of pie you have ever eaten in your life – and can never find again.  After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.” Lemony Snicket

Do you feel homesick for your childhood home like this?

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