Thursday, October 8, 2009


If I spent as much time writing as I did seeking the perfect venue for writing, I might have finished Parts II-V of the War and Peace sequel series by now. An exaggeration? Maybe not. I am the guy who drove 4,600 kilometers for a change of scenery.

I have staked out a few areas in the Ottawa Valley that allow me to settle quickly into an hour or two of writing. (The undiagnosed ADHD means that I have to move on to the next site…after a lengthy break.) My most frequent nook is a study carrel in the Arnprior Library. Laptop users vie for one of four key spots and sometimes I arrive too late, having to settle for plugging my laptop in and winding the cord strategically to allow me to sit in a chair between book stacks. It’s all good, except for a few recent visits when the air conditioning continued to blast cool air despite the passing of the recent heat wave. For a town of 7,500, the library was open long hours in the summer. Unfortunately, this week is the start of its regular, reduced hours with the facility not opening until noon.

There’s a quaint coffee and scone shop in the historic downtown section of Arnprior that I’ve recently added to my list. It has exactly what I need: plenty of electrical outlets, strong black coffee and just enough comings and goings to offer a bit of people watching. It is never so crowded that I feel I have to give up my prime table. Bad for business, but good for writing.

Yesterday, I ventured to Renfrew, a larger town of 8,000, to test out its library. The building is old and seating space is limited. I managed to get an hour and a half of work done, typing away in one of four comfy chairs in the Reading Room. I doubt I’ll make a repeat visit as I can imagine times when no space is available.

This morning, as I await the later opening of the Arnprior Library, I’ve taken my laptop outdoors, sitting on the cottage deck. The gentle lapping of the river water provides a calming background acoustic. My dogs, Lincoln and Hoover, dash about on the beach and behind the cottage. As it’s early September, the kids have all gone back to school and most of the cottages are vacant on weekdays so I don’t have to block off all possible exits from the deck in an effort to contain the dogs. They are happy and I am feeling productive. The only thing that could ruin this perfect little writing moment is Hoover reappearing, covered in burs and smelling like he found a dead fish to roll in. It’s happened before and he hasn’t sped across the deck in awhile.

I’m thinking it’s time for an unscheduled writing break.

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