Saturday, January 09, 2010
Do You Breathe Through Your Eyelids?
Saturday—another day of un-writing my WIP, and I'm wondering, do I really want to hide in my office or do I need a change of scenery where people are chatting, coffee grinders grinding, steamers steaming, and whiny coffee house music trickling through the PA? For some reason that started a little dialogue in my head that ended with a very different question: Am I a Lava Lizard or a Hermit Crab?
If you're confused, maybe I should let you in on a little more of that conversation. It all comes down to the pros and cons of distraction, and yes, there are two sides to everything. If you're a fan of BULL DURHAM, you might remember the breathe-through-your-eyelids garter method. That wonderful exchange between Susan Sarrandon and Tim Robbins when she wants him to act like a Lava Lizard (from the Galapagos Islands). You know, the critter with the parietal eye that allows him to "sense" the things he can't see with his regular eyes. His pitching sucks because he can't get out of his head enough. He can only throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball...which hits everything (including the Bull mascot) but the strike zone. So Annie talks Nuke into wearing her garter belt to get him off center enough to let loose. He needs to be distracted a little to do his best work.
I know that some writers prefer to hide themselves away in their cave, with absolutely no noise, nothing to distract them, like a Hermit Crab tucked into his shell. Others thrive on a little distraction—music, television on in the background, people all around, like Lava Lizard working his parietal eye. I'm somewhere in the middle.
Back in the day when I first started to dedicate myself to writing, my space was a corner in the kids' playroom. Nap times were fringe times when I got the most work done. Eventually, however, nap time was out the window and I had to leave the house just to get out of reach of all the "Mama, Mama, Mama" distractions and focus on my writing. Armed with earphones and my laptop, I quickly learned how to tune out the café noise and write. Now that I have my own space, I find that it really depends on my mood. Bad television in the background can work, but so can fabulous play lists that echo the tone of my WIP. I have to say, though, quiet time is still the best at home. But, there is something about the white noise of a public place that forces me to draw from a deeper place. So being a Lava Lizard once in while really rocks. The rose goes in the front, big guy.
So what about other writers out there? How do you work best—Lava Lizard or a Hermit Crab? Take the poll at the right or leave a comment...or do both!