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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 penalty morning novelist, but in the spring of 2010 I was seeing a router-making facility in Shanghais Pudong district and watched thousands of workers in robins egg off-color jumpsuits improving the paraphernalium necessary to pole-vault Chinas technological connectedness ahead of all other countries in our new international order. This tableau prompted in me a soothing realisation that the world was changing even more quickly than Id thought it was, and that Id better shake thoughts up creatively to keep pace with it.

I questioned myself a few questions: how can I steep myth with that same fractal gumption of falling down a rabbit hole that everyone is experience when were online? How can writing compete with Netflix? How could I compress passion into as few texts as possible not only on a sheet but something people can speak from a automobile at 50 miles an hour?

To this end I purposely upended what had been a 20 -year-old writing procedure. No more AM clock-based passivity, quietly awaiting statements that may or may not come depending on the nature of the fussiness of my muse. No more predictability; instead of standing here seeming nostalgic for my pre-internet mentality, I tried to figure out what my new brain was becoming and how that affected my write. So if “youre asking me” what is my typical print daytime, I have no specific reaction, only a series of tendencies which together characterize my new writing normal.

One: I do much of my writing on airplanes. Im actually at my happiest when Im writing on a plane, and Im writing these messages on a plane right now, Lufthansa flight 1436 from Frankfurt to St Petersburg. Theres no Wi-Fi( sanctuary !) and Im having that not disagreeable sensation of soon-to-end Schengen-era statelessness the various kinds of transnational fluidity so accurately touted by Monocle magazine a headspace where all the men wear slim-fit apparel and all the women in little pitch-black outfits go back to the power from the Embassy function to do some late night C ++ coding.

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

Two: I do often of my writing in hotel rooms, specially if theres a deadline. Actually, since I wrote the above paragraph Ive landed and am now in the St Petersburg W inn which has killer Wi-Fi and interior design selections perhaps induced( in the best possible sense) by an oligarchs mistress. Theres something about is available on a inn room most novelists know this implicitly that frees up ones contemplating. First you situate a scorched clay do-not-disturb on your email chronicle( 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 an aircraft. Nothing 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 asserting students, the rooms now converted into masters studios; the International House of Pancakes on the north slope of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas. The more random and unpredictable the better.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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