I live in the low latitudes, tucked right north of the equator, still a long way and many degrees separation from the Tropic of Cancer. That means one crucial thing – in December – March, I still do my writing outdoors. At the beach. At a cafe by the pier. In a little open-air food court. I do my writing in the view of people, observing what they do, sometimes being distracted, other times able to completely ignore them.
I do my writing in shorts. If I’m on a beach chair by the pool, perhaps without a shirt. I often write with my swimming trunks on. Many times they are wet.
I write with an ice-cold beverage in front of me.
I sometimes wear sunscreen.
I always write with sunglasses on.
I write feeling the slight breeze, looking at the palm trees gently swaying, observing the cruise ships sailing towards Thailand.
I write in the tropics.
My question is this: how in the world to writers in the mid-latitudes write? The northern mid-latitudes stretches from the Tropic of Cancer to 66.5 degrees north. I’m fairly certain that in January, a writer in Iowa, Canada, or Cologne are not sitting shirtless in their swim suits, writing on a lap top with an ice cold beverage, feeling the refreshing breeze.
Those mid-latitude writers must be a completely different creature. They must be a strange breed which I should probably learn about because I might be one someday.
How am I going to do this? I don’t like hot drinks. I hate wearing pants and long sleeves. I love to sit outside and observe people. I hate writing in a closed room, staring at the blank walls.
Cold weather writing scares me. What if I never have another good idea? What if my brain freezes with the weather? What if my skin becomes pasty white? What if the mid-latitudes destroys my creativity?
If all goes according to plans, I at least have two more years in the tropics. I better write my epic soon.