There is an expression going around the social media “I love my computer, all my friends live in there” and it is more true for some of us than others. I am one of these sad cases, living in rural isolation and completely dependent on my electronics to get my writing done, communicate with my publishers and chat to friends on subjects other than the weather, who just died, who is likely to die next and the weather (yes, again!)
It is fabulous that those of us abroad are now able to do this. We can sit on our sunny terraces in Spain or in my case huddled near the wood-stove in my cottage under the mountain, often up to our bums in snow and be inspired by everything.
What we don’t get to do is meet other authors except on-line. Make no mistake, there is nothing that makes one feel less alone than getting together with writers to chat, moan, bitch, swap ideas and brag. It is uplifting and heartening. From time to time I feel I am in a science fiction film where I am being controlled by Centre and they send different personalities to the screen for me to interact with. Bad days I find myself wondering if my on-line communications are genuine or just being processed by a central computer so that I can be fed more instructions.
On the few occasions I have found myself physically in a group of authors I know they are real. We laugh, we are never in any doubt if something is a sneer or a joke…and we don’t need to use emoticons.
Only the cost and discomfort of travelling prevents me going over to the UK to do this on a regular basis. I just did it for a weekend
an hour’s drive to the station here
three hours on the train to Paris
two and half hours on the Eurostar to London
five and a half hours on a coach to the West Country.
And the same in reverse to come home again.
While we are on the subject WHO THE HELL designed coach seats? They certainly didn’t have a human bottom and the seat belts are more like something used by The Inquisition, keeping the victim utterly fixed in one place, unable to shift even to relieve the stress on the gluteus maximus under pain of £100 fine if found not to be wearing the bloody thing. No stops, no chance to stretch the legs, sneak a crafty ciggie or grab that coffee you meant to buy before you boarded the coach. There’s cheap and there’s torture.
However, everything is material to an author and this trip was such….plus it has just struck me that Gluteus Maximus is a fabulous name for a spoof gladiator….mmmm, back later.