Exiles

Spaces Between Places

An office is a nice thing to have.

My offices tend to be a little chilly, clean, and informal. A comfortable chair and a desk of appropriate height. I can work from such a place, and I can work from there often. But I seldom glean new inspiration while in an office. I can tell past tales, but I don’t usually live new ones.

Home is another location I commonly work from. There are almost always elements of the office in my home, though the formality is stepped down a notch; it’s more comfortable than chilly. I can sit at a desk, at a kitchen table, or on a couch. I can lay in bed and rest my computer on my lap. I find it easier to really pull out details during a session of work done at home, probably because I feel comfortable ruminating, rather than strictly delivering. The distinction is an important one.

But of all the places I work from, the spaces between places are my favorite.

The spaces I speak of are airport terminals, hotel lobbies, and coffee shops. Maybe a park bench or a moving train or someone else’s living room.

The place is irrelevant to the process, actually — it’s my status that matters. In transit. Moving from one place to another. The act of action — the feel of energy being expended and momentum building — that’s when I’m at my best. That’s when I’m writing as I live, working as I do, and producing as a byproduct. That’s when my work is the most honest and free and accurate and me.

But I can’t always be between offices and homes — if I was, I wouldn’t really be between anything, would I? The downtime — or rather, the slightly less up-time — is a necessary component of the entire operation.

Without the stable, sentry-like goal posts of office- and home-life, I wouldn’t know what to aim for.

This piece was originally published in Exiles, a twice-monthly collection of words from the road.