“When are you going to send us your new articles?” editors from Delhi to New York inquire, their voices filled with anticipation and urgency. Readers from Hamburg to Pretoria browse the papers they just purchased at the newsstand, looking for an essay with my name in the byline. The astronauts on the International Space Station disappointedly turn towards the rest of the internet after there hasn’t been anything new on my blog for a few days.
In reality nobody asks, except some of my parents when they notice that it has been another six months since they last had an update from me. Everyone else has come to accept that I am either lazy or that I simply disappeared.
But I can tell you exactly where all of my articles are. Here they are, in several old-fashioned notebooks and scratchpads:
You see, I love to write and I write a lot. The second, third and fourth steps – writing a fair copy, editing and publishing – are the weak points.
One reason is that there is constantly new stuff happening. New countries, new wars, new stories. And even when nothing new is happening, I have new thoughts and ideas every day, one notebook being filled after the other – and gathering dust. I need a break. Three months without travelling, without new impressions, without adventures. Time to think and write.
During my time in Bari I also noticed how important location is for writing. I live in a shared flat in the center of a loud city with loud people. When I open the window, I hear crackling and honking cars, scooters and ambulances, as well as people who are shouting at each other. Many of them are even loudly speaking to themselves, holding a little gadget to their ear (a prompter?). And dogs! Why can’t anyone shoot these mutts? When I close the window, I hear the tasteless music of my flatmates, the banging of doors and phone calls in Polish, French or Spanish. I find neither a quiet corner, nor some quiet hours.
Some people pretend that they are able to work even while it roars and rumbles around them like on a bus full of schoolchildren. I can’t. I need quiet, I need to be alone, ideally for a longer period of time, not only one hour in the early morning and two hours during the extra-long Italian siesta.
I need to find a quieter place next. An apartment to myself. My dream would be a small house or a cozy prefabricated apartment block in a mid-sized town in Eastern Europe, where after jogging in the park I would sit in my writer’s chair, sip a hot chocolate and admire how snowflakes can prettify even communist architectural eyesores. A perfect setting for writing!
On 1 October I will move. I am still looking for a new place. If you have something that doesn’t cost much more than 200 € in rent per month, please let me know. Thank you!