Saturday, May 18, 2013

The town writer and the country writer

What's the difference between an urban writer and a remote rural one on Flinders Island? Well the urban one will get up at a civilized hour, have coffee, maybe put the cat out, have breakfast, go to their desk and start work. Maybe sometime between 8.30 and 9.00. He might answer post, or twitter knowledgably about the Great Gatsby. Later he might take a break and go shopping or be one these really odd people who can write on a laptop in a coffee shop. They exist. Really. I didn't believe it myself.

Back on Flinders island the extremely un-urban writer shivers out of bed at pitch-dark-o-thirty. He fumbles on his clothes gets his rifle and goes off to look for a wallaby. On his return, he will skin and gut the same, then go feed the pig, and then deal with the chickens (in this case that means a quick humane execution. The time had come. New egg-layers arrived last night, and I don't want any chicken-fights, and only one of the older ones was still laying. There were only two of them which is not happy for chooks.) Drawing and plucking followed. Then we got to coffee and putting the cats out. Making porrige and then to work - at about the same time as the Urban writer. All I can say about the Great Gatsby was I hated it as a set-book, and I have no intention of seeing the film, should it, in a few years, find its way to Flinders or DVD. Today we were actually going out to lunch, but I did not take a laptop. I need quiet and my environment to write. I did our shopping in garden, and with a knife and a rifle. And at the end of the day I have to earn a lot less than my urban friend did, which is just as well, because I don't seem very good at it:-).


  1. Reminds me of being in the mountains with my grandmother's kin. We'd get up before dawn...everybody...and while dressing someone would swing the coffee pot with yesterdays coffee in it over the fire. We'd eat leftover biscuits or bread from last night with lukewarm coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. Hillbilly Latte before anyone thought of Starbucks.

    The animals would be taken care of, a squirrel or rabbit might be shot as dawn broke and a few chores done; usually in the "kitchen garden" not the cash crop. Then we'd head back to the house for a real breakfast. Fresh biscuits, fresh hot coffee and fried ham or bacon with eggs. In the winter it might be oatmeal or corn mush instead of biscuits.

  2. I don't know that this is entirely accurate. I know of at least 2 urban writers who get up much, much earlier than 8:30 and have responsibilities that make writing time difficult to find.

    There are some things about urban living that are easier on a writer; other things that are harder.

    The common thread? You are all gardeners and interested in food. I'm the odd one out, there.

    Lisa S. in Seattle

    1. True enough. I was playing on the country mouse and the town mouse. The point is of course that responsibilities are not the same as part of your day to eat and stay warm. :-)