On Writing and Art,  Wander, Wonder, Write

Skopelos: To Write or Not to Write

“The heat ticks like a time bomb.”
—Olga Tokarczuk, Flights

I won’t write about my month on Skopelos because if I did,

—I would have to tell you how lucky I feel to wake up each day to a view of the sea, which is always and never the same, and I would fear that my writing was nothing but a boast, a way to elicit jealousy or praise. Look at me and my fabulous life style—I deserve to be admired! 

—I would have to mention the family that lived below us last week, a family that drives a rustbucket with a broken headlight, blasts music into the valley at odd hours, lets the waste water of their washing machine drain straight into the ground, owns three bleating goats, a pregnant cat, a never-petted dog which dozes underneath a plastic table all day, and a white horse which grazes the dry grass around the house tied to a tether the size of a dog leash, and I would have to tell you why I’m not calling an animal cruelty agency, and that would require me to write a serious essay.

—I would have to complain that silence is hard to come by, no matter where you go, that we left Paris a few months before our landlady would have kicked us out, because we had enough of all the traffic noise and the night-music neighbors and especially the heavy construction work in our alley, yet that we’ve been hearing jackhammers and terrible electric saws (Are they torturing kittens?) everyday in Venice and Gallipoli, and even here, in one of the sleepy villages on this Greek island, away from the port, with no bars and certainly no discotheques, we were surrounded by three construction sites, and I would fear that my writing was nothing but a white whine, a complaint from a  privileged person who fails to focus on the positive.

—I would have to admit that I’m not a travel writer at all and that the reports I sometimes post are mere flukes, for my curiosity and attention more often turn inward, toward the novels I’m working on, and that I’ve been very happy in my three stone houses on the hill ever since I arrived and have not explored the island much at all, except to locate mini-markets, taverns, and coves.

—I would be looking at my screen even more than I already am, which is every waking moment safe for the time I prepare food or take odd poses, such as standing on my head or bending my back into an arched bridge, or am submerged in water, and I would feel ashamed, because I’m obviously underappreciating how beautiful this island is. 

—I would have to ignore the fact that I haven’t submitted any short fiction or nonfiction for a long time and should probably focus on my publication credits instead of on my blog.

—I would have to feel the urge to share something on just the right moment and write a post on my phone while waiting for the bus that will take me to my next destination.