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Douglas Coupland:’ I’m actually at my happiest when I’m writing on a plane’

No more clock-based passivity from the novelist, who disrupted a 20 -year routine with a decision to embrace the unpredictable

I used to be a punishment morning columnist, but in the spring of 2010 I was seeing a router-making facility in Shanghais Pudong district and witnessed thousands of workers in robins egg blue-blooded jumpsuits building the material necessary to pole-vault Chinas technological connectedness ahead of all other countries in our new international order. This tableau motivated in me a gentle realisation that “the worlds” was changing even more quickly than Id thought it was, and that Id better shake things up creatively to keep pace with it.

I asked myself a few questions: how can I imbue myth with that same fractal appreciation of falling down a rabbit hole that everyone is knowledge when were online? How can writing compete with Netflix? How could I squeeze spirit into as few texts as is practicable not just on a sheet but something people can read from a vehicle at 50 miles per hour?

To this end I purposely upended what had been a 20 -year-old writing procedure. No more AM clock-based passivity, calmly awaiting texts that may or may not succeed depending on the fussiness of my muse. No more predictability; instead of standing here experiencing wistful for my pre-internet brain, I tried to figure out what my brand-new intelligence was becoming and how that affected my writing. So if you ask me what is my usual writing day, I have no specific explanation, just a series of tendencies which together define my new writing normal.

One: I do often of my writing on aircrafts. Im actually at my happiest when Im writing on a plane, and Im writing these words on a plane right now, Lufthansa flight 1436 from Frankfurt to St Petersburg. Theres no Wi-Fi( sanctuary !) and Im having that not distasteful superstar of soon-to-end Schengen-era statelessness the kind of transnational fluidity so accurately touted by Monocle magazine a headspace where all the men wear slim-fit robe and all the women in little pitch-black dresses go back to the place from the Embassy function to do some late darknes C ++ coding.

Q: Would you like a glass of irrigate with your vodka tonic ?
A: No. Thats why God invented ice cubes .

Two: I do much of my writing in hotel rooms, especially if theres a deadline. Actually, since I wrote the above paragraph Ive territory and am now in the Saint petersburg W inn which has killer Wi-Fi and interior design alternatives perhaps cleared( in the highest possible appreciation) by an oligarchs mistress. Theres something about being in a hotel area most writers know this implicitly that frees up ones making. First you situate a scorched land do-not-disturb on your email accounting( autoreply: Im dead and hence unable to reply to your email) and second, hide the mobile phone in the desk drawer and its almost as good as being on a plane. None reached among you. Youre safe.

Three: I write in places connected in definable ways to the forces of both globalisation and deglobalisation: Shanghai router-making facilities; Chilean classrooms taken over by demonstrating students, the rooms now converted into masters studios; the International House of Pancakes on the northern back of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas. The more random and sudden the better.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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