letter from morocco
Greetings from Essaouira, Morocco. Over the past two months, I have mentally composed so many little missives to post here, but somehow they all grew worn and stale before making it online, like letters that seem to wilt the longer they ride around on your car dashboard, waiting for the day you finally stop by the post office to send them. I am at work on Novel 2 and almost completely disconnected from Internet Reality (which is to say from Publishing News Reality, Writing Advice Reality, Author Blog Reality, and yes, Funny Cat Video Reality) but I can feel things collecting in my brain for future sharing here, piling up like snow.
A typical day for me right now goes something like this:
Write until afternoon.
Walk around public gardens while groundskeepers in bright orange vests blow whistles and gesticulate madly for no apparent reason.
Hurry home to toss and turn in strangely pleasant delirium.
Nip around the corner in search of medicinal oranges; return two hours later, having gotten lost somewhere between the Nougat District and the District of Small Children Wielding Alarmingly Realistic Plastic Guns.
Recover from fever; throw open windows to air the room of poisonous Humors.
Venture out in search of dinner.
Decline to purchase various carpets.
Accost English-speaking travelers to see if they have any books to trade; receive awkward rebuttal.
Slink back to room.
Shed heavy sweater, scarf, and other clothing items worn in order to conform with local modesty codes; release hair; put on music; dance wildly for an hour to preserve sanity.
Develop pink eye.
Make notes and sketches in preparation for tomorrow morning's writing on Novel 2.
Drink forbidden tap water.
Spy on neighborhood musicians from a rooftop in well-meaning attempt to avoid Gawking Foreigner Syndrome.
Watch dwindling supply of movies on laptop with Techie Boyfriend, while feeling slightly guilty for not doing something more Authentic and Legit with the evening.
Things are good. Things are easy (well, except for the fevers.) Half of my time is spent in consumption—gazing at things, listening to things, eating medicinal oranges, being entertained and overstimulated—and the other half is spent in production: shutting off all that external stimuli to write. Thanks to the writing, I don’t feel the boredom and gluttedness that comes from a life consisting solely of consumption; and thanks to the consumption, I don’t feel the boredom and depletion that comes from a life consisting solely of writing (see Veronica Roth's excellent post Not Writing: Or Why the Brain Is An Ice-Cream Maker if this sounds like blasphemy to you.) I feel like a big sponge, absorbing things I'm not even fully conscious of absorbing—the texture of cobblestones in the medina, the smell of leather tanneries, the appearance of the old woman's face on the train who takes a hard-boiled egg out of her purse and presses it into my hands, my own emotions in response.
My internal reservoirs are quietly filling with new-found sensory and emotional information, and although I would be loathe to travel anywhere or pursue any particular experience just for the sake of some zombie-like "harvesting" for later usage, I'm grateful for the replenishment, especially as I delve into the writing of Novel 2. Things will probably be pretty quiet on this blog for a little while longer—there are so many wonderful new bloggers out there that I don't feel too guilty about temporarily removing my voice from the cacophony, but I will check in more often as Novel 2 gets on its spindly feet and WILD AWAKE's approaching publication gives my INTERN-brain more to dissect and analyze and share.
Sending you all a virtual cup of mint tea...