It’s rare that I’m actually on vacation. Like many writers, the idea of leaving my computer at home for weeks on end is nothing short of unfathomable. So, I’ve been getting up every morning, when I can, and finding a “quiet” corner to flip open the laptop and work.
Right now I’m on the longest vacation of my life. Spending fifteen days exploring a part of Europe I’ve never visited has been interesting. For the first few days it was no big deal because I had a kitchen with a coffee maker to write in. Then things got complicated, but in an interesting, and unanticipated way.
We have a family of five and are presently staying in a hotel room. It’s small and cramped but it works for sleeping. Every morning, my preferred time to write, I make my way across the street to the train station in Rome where I sit down to write for an hour or three. It’s far from what my composition teacher in college would have called, “ideal writing conditions.”
The noise if deafening, the distractions are ample, the tables are sticky. I witnessed a crowed of homeless people get roused from the dark corners of the station by the police. It’s a system I think they follow every morning of every day in a sort of truce where the homeless can sleep in the warmth of the train station as long as they go without a fuss in the morning.
Yes, it was distracting, but it was also an interesting study in human behavior. I watched people living their lives that I’d ordinarily never see. I could see it happen in true life and not on some television show. All from the perspective of a writer plying his craft from the corner booth of a fast food joint.
There were also people in the restaurant who were too busy checking their e-mail or updating their Facebook status to notice, or even care, that these things were taking place around them. I’m a bit worried about a world where we forget that it’s inhabited by other humans who feel pain and despair. Seeing their pain and despair makes us human, perhaps it’s this acknowledgement of others pain that brings us to the point were we are the most human. And it’s that humanity that all artists seek to capture.
-Your Humble Servant, Bryan the Writer