I had an idea

The post I promised – it’s all about inspiration and plans.

I love to travel. I think that’s common, most people do… in my case it’s almost pathological right now, after having not traveled for many, many years.

I travel to find the textures of a place, the way the air smells, the way the food tastes different in different places (not just the recipes, a banana in Costa Rica tastes different from a Banana in Canada or the Solomon Islands).

While in Madrid I went to the grocery store. First, it was a different kind of store than here. Every grocery store in my country is a monstrosity, a giant high-ceilinged mecha of consumption. In Madrid, it was a small space, underground, but the variety and quality of the food were miles ahead of what I see in my day to day. It was like the place was designed to provide food for people, not to suck as much money from them as humanly possible.

In Costa Rica a few years ago I noticed that there was a constant smell of burning. Not a bad smell, in fact, an amazing one. That smell was due to clearing jungle. There were small patches of burning everywhere, but they were small, controlled. The air was wet, and the burn smell was a rich smell, full of the complexity of life. The air in Canada sometimes smells of wood stoves, sometimes of barbecue, grilling meat with sweet sauces and charcoal. Maybe not the same complexity of the Costa Rican smoke, but amazing in its own way.

Costa Rica again, Mangoes grow everywhere, you can just pick them from the trees when they are ripe. They grow in public squares, they grow by the side of the road. In Canada it’s blackberries. I never did figure out what it might be in Spain, Madrid doesn’t have a lot that grows in the city, and Barcelona is much the same – although other than that the two cities might be from different worlds, they are so different.

So, I am inspired by this, by exploring these worlds. I want to feel them, deep in my bones – even the ones I imagine, the ones that never existed in this world.

Long term, I want to move to a tropical country, live there, drink in the smells, the sights, the flavours – and I want to infuse my work with those flavours. I want to have enough money that I don’t rely on my writing because I will always choose to write those flavours over what I should write, over what makes sense.

So, I write to capture something, to explore different worlds. Lately, I read a lot of advice to write to market. Clearly, if you are trying to make writing where your income comes from this is great advice, and makes sense. It’s not why I write, I write because that smell from the jungle clearing won’t leave my head, and I need to find ways to express it. I write because my noisy brain will only quiet if I do – so I can never write to market, it would destroy the reason I write.

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