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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 inspecting a router-making facility in Shanghais Pudong district and evidenced thousands of workers in robins egg blue-blooded jumpsuits improving the gear are required to pole-vault Chinas technological connectedness ahead of all other countries in our new world order. This tableau spurred in me a soothing realisation that the world was changing even more quickly than Id thought it was, and that Id better shake happens up creatively to keep pace with it.

I asked myself a few questions: how can I imbue story with that same fractal sense of falling down a rabbit hole that we all suffer when were online? How can writing compete with Netflix? How could I tighten spirit into as few words as is practicable not just on a page but something people are able to read from a gondola at 50 km / hour?

To this end I intentionally upended what had been a 20 -year-old writing routine. No more AM clock-based passivity, calmly awaiting texts that are able to or is not able to come depending on the nature of the fussiness of my muse. No more predictability; instead of stay here with me feeling wistful for my pre-internet intelligence, I tried to figure out what my brand-new mentality was becoming and how that affected my writing. So if “youre asking me” what is my typical writing era, I have no specific reaction, just a series of tendencies which together define my brand-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 texts on an aircraft right now, Lufthansa flight 1436 from Frankfurt to Saint petersburg. Theres no Wi-Fi( sanctuary !) and Im having that not distressing 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 clothing and all the women in little black dresses go back to the office from the Embassy function to do some late darknes C ++ coding.

Q: Would you like a glass of ocean 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 landed and am now in the Saint petersburg W inn which has killer Wi-Fi and interior design selections perhaps moved( in the highest possible appreciation) by an oligarchs mistress. Theres something about being in a hotel area most columnists know this implicitly that frees up ones seeing. First you place a scorched earth 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 can achieve 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 protesting students, the rooms now converted into masters studios; the International House of Pancakes on the northern line-up of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas. The more random and surprising the better.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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