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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 trained morning columnist, but in the spring of 2010 I was inspecting a router-making facility in Shanghais Pudong district and evidenced thousands of workers in robins egg blue-blooded jumpsuits improving the equipment are required to pole-vault Chinas technological connectedness ahead of all other countries in our new international order. This tableau induced in me a soothing realisation that “the worlds” was changing even more quickly than Id thought it was, and that Id better shake events up creatively to keep pace with it.

I asked myself a few questions: how can I imbue fiction with that same fractal gumption of falling down a rabbit hole that everyone is know when were online? How can writing compete with Netflix? How could I constrict spirit into as few texts as possible not only on a page but something people are able to read from a car at 50 miles per hour?

To this end I purposely upended what had been a 20 -year-old writing number. No more AM clock-based passivity, calmly awaiting paroles that may or may not come depending on the fussiness of my muse. No more predictability; instead of sitting there detecting nostalgic for my pre-internet brain, I tried to figure out what my new intelligence was becoming and how that affected my writing. So if “youre asking me” what is my typical writing daylight, I have no specific answer, merely a series of tendencies which together characterize my new writing normal.

One: I do much of my writing on planes. Im actually at my happiest when Im writing on a plane, and Im writing these terms on an aircraft right now, Lufthansa flight 1436 from Frankfurt to Saint petersburg. Theres no Wi-Fi( sanctuary !) and Im having that not unpleasant agitation 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 apparel and all the women in little pitch-black dresses go back to the bureau from the Embassy function to do some late night C ++ coding.

Q: Would you like a glass of sea with your vodka tonic ?
A: No. Thats why God invented 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 alternatives possibly saw( in the best possible appreciation) by an oligarchs mistress. Theres something about is available on a hotel room most scribes know this implicitly that free-spokens up ones anticipating. First you situate a scorched ground do-not-disturb on your email detail( 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. 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 asserting students, the areas now converted into masters studios; the International House of Pancakes on the north area of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas. The more random and sudden the better.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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