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Douglas Coupland:’ I’m actually at my happiest when I’m writing on an aircraft’

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

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

I asked myself a few questions: how can I steep myth with that same fractal sense of falling down a rabbit hole that everyone is know-how when were online? How can writing compete with Netflix? How could I constrict ardour into as few terms as possible not just on a sheet but something people are able to speak from a auto at 50 km / hour?

To this end I deliberately upended what had been a 20 -year-old writing number. No more AM clock-based passivity, softly awaiting messages that may or may not move is dependent on the fussiness of my muse. No more predictability; instead of sitting there feeling wistful for my pre-internet mentality, 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 typical writing day, I have no specific answer, exactly a series of tendencies which together define my new writing normal.

One: I do much of my writing on airliners. Im actually at my happiest when Im writing on a plane, and Im writing these statements on a plane right now, Lufthansa flight 1436 from Frankfurt to St Petersburg. Theres no Wi-Fi( sanctuary !) and Im having that not distressing awarenes 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 attire and all the women in little black dresses go back to the power from the Embassy function to do some late nighttime C ++ coding.

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

Two: I do often 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 St Petersburg W hotel which has killer Wi-Fi and interior design options perhaps shaped( in the best possible sense) by an oligarchs mistress. Theres something about being in a hotel room most columnists know this implicitly that free-spokens up ones belief. First you place a scorched dirt do-not-disturb on your email account( 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. Nothing can reach 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 back of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas. The more random and unpredictable the better.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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