Writing in my Jeep Patriot

We built our house over twenty years ago, when summer evenings in the mountains generally required a sweatshirt or light sweater. Days that reached 90 degrees were not the norm, and if a day got really hot, we were off to the pool or the lake. So, we did not include air-conditioning into the building plan. We are regretting that now.

Now, July and August are mostly 90 degrees and above, more the average than not. So, while I sit waiting for September, here’s what I do to write.

My Jeep Patriot serves as my current office. I park it in front of the happiest perennial border at the moment. This means, no weeds, and at its blooming best. If there are weeds I will find myself weeding instead of working. If the border is declining in bloom, then I’ll study it, deciding what improvements are needed for next year. So, I pick the perfect spot in my yard, and I feel like the person in cubicle city who got the corner office with a view. Here’s my current view.

I sit in the back seat where I can stretch out, lap top in my lap (of course). Note: the Jeep has a 110 AC plug so the computer’s battery life is not an issue. And, my house has wi-fi which I can access from the car. Two big issues taken care of…cars, these days, are amazing, often more adaptable to technology than our houses. Big thanks to the car industries.

I take the house phone with me, and put it in a cup holder (cell phones have no service where we live). I pour a glass of half unsweetened tea, 1/4 sweet tea, and 1/4 lemonade, and put in the other cup holder, both easily accessible.

I turn the air conditioning on full blast, and start writing. I work straight for about four hours, with a break at the two hour mark for solitaire. I also answer emails and phone calls. This whole process begins about 10 a.m. (I am not an early morning person) and ends around 2. The teen sleeps until he gets hot, about 11 a.m., then he comes out to the car, and knocks on the window to say good-morning, or he crawls in the front seat to chat for a bit, having Kool-aid for his morning drink (we are not a healthy family).

After four hours of writing, the teen and I go to a movie in an attempt to stay cool, and sometimes out to eat, but mostly we just eat movie popcorn, a refillable large one.

When I first started writing, in my late 20s, I went to all kinds of trouble to do it. Believing I needed certain writing props, I spent more time preparing to write than writing. The right office in the right house would be the ticket, I thought. With that, I could write best sellers.  I now have that office, and that house, but am currently writing in my car.

The right retreat was always needed I thought, which is every writer’s dream. It’s a place where you can count on less interruption. For instance, no teens drinking their morning Kool-aid in the front seat of your car telling you all about the Transformer movie they saw last night, and how totally lame it was, while you’re working on a deadline.

Examples of perfect retreat places are typically the mountains if you live near the ocean, or the ocean if you live near the mountains. If you’re in the Piedmont, I suppose its whichever one you prefer. 

I spent more time picturing myself writing, and having romantic visions of writing, than actually writing. Now, in my 50s, I can and do write at soccer matches (surreptitiously, without anyone knowing–go team!), in the waiting rooms of dentists, various doctors, movie theaters, high school lobbies, parking lots (hours and hours in parking lots while waiting on soccer, baseball, football, piano, fencing, chess club, debate team, athletic clubs, Spanish clubs and on and on to finish), on car trips with crying babies and furious adolescents, during power outages, while cooking dinner, while doing laundry, while meditating sibling squabbles, and in the middle of tragedy or calm.

Once, I found myself in the perfect writing spot. See what you think.

It now serves as the wallpaper on my computer.

Here’s what I found out about my perfect writing spot. I did not write any better there than I do in my Jeep Patriot. Here’s what else I found out. I do like that spot a whole lot better than my Jeep Patriot.

And, here’s the conclusion. I can’t wait for the perfect spot, the perfect time, or lack of interruptions. I just need to write. So while, I’d prefer the above spot to the Jeep (most of the time), the primary thing is to write. Because, here’s my outcome. It pays. And, because it pays, I can buy Captain America tickets, and then spend 2 hours texting commentary with the teen about the movie (not lame), and that is the best spot of all.

One thought on “Writing in my Jeep Patriot

  1. Ok, you have to stop being so funny or I’m going to have to go and put on some Depends before I sit down and read again! I love this scenario…you in the jeep. How do you come up with this stuff…never mind Comedy Central anymore…I’ll just pull up a chair and surf over to your blog. This goes in one of your books…a new one, about how to become a writer or something like that. xoxox

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