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Eccentric Writers

by Tara

We're starting to learn where the stereotype for the eccentric writer comes from. After typing non-stop every day for nearly a month, we have begun to develop a very idiosyncratic schedule in order to keep the words flowing. Everything must be "just so", because any deviation from our well-worn habits ultimately leads to frustration when our stream of creativity clogs to a slow trickle.

So, our days remain much the same, and we like it that way. First comes the alarm clock at 7AM, then some post-alarm snuggles, then bleary eyes and the triage of email/facebook/comment/contact page/twitter responding. And then, while Tyler tends to some paying work, I leave with a backpack, heading out to find breakfast. We start every day with a smoothie from the hippy lady's cafe across the street. No matter what I order, she responds, "good idea!"

Friendly Neighborhood Food Vendor Mango & Orange Shake

Next, a pair of freshly-made, delectably-fried chicken thighs make their way into my backpack from a stand just down the road from our guest-house. They come complete with little plastic bags of sweet chili sauce and sticky rice, expertly tied in air-tight bubbles with a rubber band on top. Finally, there are the sugar coated, bean-filled doughnuts from the doughnut lady who has served me so many times she prepares my order before I can ask for it.

Back at the hotel, I unload my bag of goodies, Tyler disengages from whatever programming he's working on to smile and say "thank you for breakfast!" and then we dig in. Once our mid-morning feast is over, we clear the "table" (a towel folded on the bed) and get down to work.

In order to cultivate the right mood, we listen to a lot of ambient music. Brian Eno is a regular favorite, as is Gustavo Santaolalla. Like Pavlov's dog, we've trained ourselves to associate their albums with the act of writing. With all of the pieces in place for a productive day a the keyboard, we settle in for hours.

Journaling (Laptop & Glasses)

Intensive all-day (and often night) writing marathons ensue, during which we craft each entry to our liking, laying out the photos, drafting our memories, and taking turns editing them ruthlessly. Sometimes, the process is effortless; other times (most times), the intense rigor with which we approach our task is excruciatingly difficult to maintain. Every few days we swear off writing forever, but our frustration usually only lasts an hour or two.

After many, many hours spent in front of our computer screens, we call it a night anywhere between six and eleven PM. If it is early enough when we call it a night, we'll often head to our favorite restaurant. On the corner, just a few blocks away, there is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant with delicious Thai food—we call it "our place".

When we arrive, we're welcomed with a huge smile as we find our seats on little plastic chairs under the fan. We drink ice water from tin cups, and smile and say "yes!" when the cook asks "you want the same?" A few minutes later, she brings us plates of steaming stir-fried peppery garlic chicken over noodles—every time we find ourselves marveling at how unbelievably delicious it is.

When we're through, we pay the woman exactly one hundred and eleven baht (about three dollars). On the way home, it's time for a stop at the 7-11 for chocolate, chili-spiced dried broad beans and a beer or two. We end the day with a few episodes of shows about cooking or homesteading (River Cottage, Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, The Perennial Plate, etc), and then we go to bed, looking forward to the start of another identical day.

Candle Holder Rain @ Shanti Lodge