Round Out Your Thoughts—Write in an Airstream

Can your writing environment be a factor in your writing? The answer’s obvious, if say, you were trying to write romantic sonnets, while two feet from your hair-raised head a teeth-bared pit bull strained against a cracking leash. That’s a bit extreme of course. But might you write halfway better if half of the pit bull’s teeth were removed? How would a purring kitten in the room affect your writing?

I broach the topic because I write in somewhat of an unusual environment: attacked by plaid. That’s the interior of my 1966 Airstream Globetrotter in the photo above. It’s got a good broadband connection (though it’s only sends Internet packets from the 60s, so there’s a lot of The Man from Uncle coming through) and it’s downright cozy. I live in a semi-rural environment, so out of its many windows I see mostly fields, right now filled with high grasses—and the skunk I missed stepping on by two feet the other day.

Since I write pretty regularly for Airstream Life magazine (and for the Airstreamer newsletter) I’ve written a lot about the feeling of being in an old Airstream. So, to quote myself:

The Airstream’s classic silvery-egg shapeliness has been refined, modified and expanded over time, but that bullet-bodied essence has retained its original appeal. There are certain shapes that beguile the eye, winning our affections in a swift, unconscious bond that escapes any internal editor. Perhaps more intimately, there’s something a little womb-like about the trailers; they curl around you when you’re relaxing inside. That singular shape still rewards the eye with a tingle of approval; every glance reinforces the sense of timeless design.

I do feel that congenial coccooning in the old trailer, and I think it’s a fine environment for writing: there’s the sound of the mockingbirds (and sometimes those damn roosters), the wind swaying the shifting grasses, and that settled sense of an old vehicle that’s still solid and sound. I think well in the old Stream, and it feels like an atmosphere conducive to good keyboarding.

But some writers do well with an entirely different ambience. I know writers who love to go to active coffee shops for their scribblings, needing the murmurs of people and the spoosh of the espresso machine to percolate their thoughts. Other people make sure there ARE no windows in their writing room, so distraction can’t seep in. I’m one of those people who never writes with music playing, or at least music with lyrics, because I’m lured by the words, and my writing thought train derails.

I love to write travel pieces, but don’t like to write the actual sentence-by-sentence of an article on the road. So I’ll write notes and a few sentences in the hotel room, but I always wait to get back home to put together the full composition. Of course, I do some of my writing in the house too, because that’s where the bourbon is. I return to my Airstream when I want a room of my own.

Where do you hang your writing hat?

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5 thoughts on “Round Out Your Thoughts—Write in an Airstream

  1. Puce? Is that a PUCE chair? Damn. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to use PUCE in a sentence and now you’ve handed me the opportunity. Thank you. It explains a lot about you. The large “Hide-a-Key” boulder is a nice touch. I love the natural landscaping and the alien by the doorstep. Always nice to be welcomed home by an extraterrestrial.

    Hey! Is that my book and prose-laden envelope I see on the settee? (Another word I always wanted to use.) I feel a strange desire to put on my pedal pushers and rock back with an ice drink in a colorful tin cup.

    Sigh. I’m jealous. This is SO much roomier and nicer than my van. My window looks out on a parking lot. However, to one side is a creek and woods. At night we often frighten herds of deer who are bounding through the parking lot looking for forage. They have such great noses they have smelled the thought and intention I have of planting tomatoes. Anyway – glad to finally see the Airstream Tom!! And to be the easter egg on the settee…across from the puce chair.

  2. Becky, the puce chair goes with my eyeliner (not the weekend eyeliner, but the daily). I do like your observation about the Hide-A-Key boulder: It’s a large, playground ball covered by a type of cement. We have a couple in our yard, for the gnomes to play with while we’re sleeping.

    Yep, that’s your book and pinecone envelope in the shot, immortalized. Thanks again. You do have a sharp eye.

    Plant those tomatoes in a pot on the roof…

  3. I will, if I can find tomatoes who won’t suffer a fear of heights. The landlord has promised to come by and steal the tomatoes while I’m on the road – so the deer won’t eat them. He’s generous that way.

    The local Sheriff was by last week – not visiting me, but accompanied by two large trailers and six other men-in-black sedans to confiscate the contents of a nearby storage shed. The FBI came by later, looking for evidence around the area of people cooking meth. I guess that’s the kind of neighbors one gets in a rural area.

    The FBI uses marketers now. They have their own material they hand out – brochures about “How to Spot Meth Labs On Your Property” and “10 Tips for Spotting Illicit Drug Use Among Your Tenants.” Now everyone gets to play cop. Weird. I worry about the safety of my ants, even though they haven’t arrived yet.

    I’m debating whether to take my ant farm with me on the road or not. I hate having to worry about monitoring the temperature of their little home, but I also don’t want to miss the great tunnel excavation reveal. If I had an Airstream it wouldn’t be such a concern. That’s it! Buy a $50,000 Airstream for my $19.95 ant farm!

  4. We had a happy meth house down the road from us, and I’m grateful it never blew up. Now they merely collect two-wheeled cars there. They also hand out “How to spot an FBI agent” pamphlets.

    I think your Airstream purchase solution is ideal, and the ants will love you (they express that by circling their feelers above their heads) forever.

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