The Mark Blog

The Sounds of Silence


I’ve figured out that when I’m in a certain type of gestation period, I don’t do well in group settings, even ones designed to be conducive to work. I pay a monthly fee to belong to a great co-working space here in San Diego. I joined so I could have somewhere to write other than a noisy coffee shop or my usual spot on the bed in our tiny apartment. It’s a big, beautiful two-story building with an open loft, a conference room, and a lounge. There’s a large area filled with couches, other seating arrangements, and moveable writing carrels. There’s good art. The other members aren’t just writers; there are architects and software developers and graphic designers and even a filmmaker. It’s a great place, filled with mellow, creative energy. And yet. And yet.

I know the work I’m doing right now needs a distraction-free zone. That’s not always the case. When I start something new, I love to be around the buzz of life, absorbing conversations and facial expressions, body language and the specific details of the really bad shoes on the person sitting across from me. Right now, I’m somewhere I’ve never been before with my writing, a hybrid space of creating new work to augment the existing draft and deeply revising the existing manuscript. Shifting between the two is exhausting, literally. Sometimes I’ll work for a couple of hours and feel certain I’m coming down with the flu. I type, type, type, then I lie down and stare at the ceiling. I wander around the apartment, thinking about what I’ve just written and ignoring basic tasks like getting the mail and giving the dog water. (Don’t freak, I always remember eventually. He’s the most spoiled dog on the planet.) It’s not glamorous, but it works for me.

Also? I’m in that space where I don’t wanna talk about it. I don’t want to answer any well-meaning questions about how it’s going or when I’m going to be done, or, or, or. And I’m the worst listener in the world right now. I’ll ask how you are then immediately drift off to some myopic place of words in my head. Really, it’s a wonder I have any friends at all. And it’s probably not a coincidence that most of them are writers.

What about you? Pin-drop quiet or the hum of a wi-fi free coffeeshop? Where’s your happy place?