About a year ago, a very nice group of bloggers e-mailed INTERN asking if she would like to participate in a "where I write" thingy where you send in a photo of your writing space. At the time, INTERN was feeling very Secretive and declined in what she hopes was a gracious and not too paranoid-seeming manner. However, INTERN currently finds herself in a time of great reflection regarding living and writing spaces. Here, therefore, is INTERN's belated answer.
For most of the past year, INTERN lived and wrote in a 1985 Toyota pickup truck with a fiberglass camper on top. After a three-month sojourn at a friend's cabin, INTERN and Techie Boyfriend returned to their van this week:
Yes, it's beautiful. Here is a picture of the inside:
INTERN's relationship with her van is complex. Like some sort of vehicular monkey's paw, it's come to represent a host of different things to INTERN, a lot of them tied up with her convictions and fears about being a writer. If you want to talk about universal themes, here are some of INTERN's as regards her writing space:
Pride: INTERN bought her "home" with a chunk of the advance for her first book. That little flare of hope and pride she felt in being able to support herself as a writer/editor (even if it meant living in a van) was a precious thing.
Despair: Sometimes, INTERN sees the van as a symbol of her failure to succeed in the "real world" and a reminder that her last three attempts at holding down "real jobs" to pay the rent ended in embarrassing psychiatric kersnarfles.
Freedom: Living like a nomad has given INTERN the freedom to survive as a writer/editor, and provided a context in which her mental quirks don't matter nearly as much as they do in a "normal" context.
Trappedness: The longer you live like a nomad, the harder it becomes to find your way back into a more stable existence. Suddenly, the prospect of finding a place to live and paying rent feels like an outlandishly difficult proposition.
Determination: INTERN and Techie Boyfriend are determined to find a life in which they can write and create and dream and spend 99% of their time together, even if it means enduring the occasional existential freakout on INTERN's part.
On more than on occasion, INTERN has issued bitter ultimatums regarding the van: INTERN cannot live in that thing, INTERN cannot write in that thing (as it turns out, INTERN both finished a novel and signed with her agent while living in or out of “that thing” which indicates that in fact, INTERN can.) If the van has taught INTERN one thing about writing, it's that you can't be precious about it. You won't always have an "acceptable" writing space, or power for your laptop, or a stable environment/life (conversely, if you have a job and family, you might not have as much time as you want). If you want to write, you have to do it anyway.
As INTERN and Techie Boyfriend head off on their next adventure, INTERN returns to her Toyota writing room with a mixture of excitement and wistfulness. The future is more than cloudy—it's completely friggin' opaque. Writing (and writing this blog in particular) are the one constant. And that makes all the despairing moments completely worthwhile.
INTERN wants to know: where do you write? What does your writing space say about you? What's the weirdest place you've ever slept?