Taking Your Writing To Another Place


I am constantly reminding students and teachers how important it is to write in different locations. So, I am doing as I say and writing this piece from the small island of Gili Trawangan , situated off the coast of Lombok and a three hour boat ride from Bali.

Our lives tend to be about being busy. We move constantly from one seemingly important matter to the next. -Rushing and bustling to meet appointments and people. It’s little wonder our minds become cluttered and clouded with thoughts that serve to add confusion and indecision. The brain is full to overflowing. A fog descends. Thinking clearly becomes more of a challenge as we tire of the load.
My short time on this island has provided distance from those matters that refuse to be denied. It has given me time to sit still. It has allowed me the headspace to clear my thoughts. I sit facing the sea and I can gaze, ponder, wonder, observe, listen, smell, feel, think and appreciate, the simple pleasures of the moments surrounding the day. I embrace these precious thoughts. They are most welcome. My mind clears and my notebook pages fill easily with words.  Moments are magnified. They press upon my mind revealing possibilities.  Thoughts flow as easily as the tide that laps the shore in front of me. There exists in these moments, a clarity I appreciate as a writer. Is this a luxury? Yes, it is. But it is also a reminder of maintaining balance in our lives. Too much of any one thing is not a wise investment.

Many years ago I read Carmel Bird’s book, ‘Dear Writer’ in which she noted that writers need to consciously quarantine time to write. They must become a little self-indulgent in order to produce words. So, I am shamelessly claiming these few precious days to write in a different place, with a clear head. As painter, Paul Klee said, you adapt yourself to the contents of the paintbox. This location, far from home is my paintbox for these few days. I shall adapt quite willingly. I will walk, beachcomb, swim, read and ride a bike too, to feed the writer within. I must live in the world, otherwise I risk missing it…


This little island is engaged in a battle. -A battle of development. -A battle of inevitable change.  On one hand the inhabitants are resisting the march of mechanization by not allowing cars and motorbikes to be part of island life. Ponies and carts provide essential transport services here. This adds a sense of quiet and tranquillity to life here, not to mention lower pollution levels. The ponies add to the island’s appeal. Opposing this, tourism is flourishing and the island’s centre is expanding at a rapid rate; spreading like tentacles. With development comes a host of related issues. I want the ponies to survive this onslaught.


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