The Year of Writing Peripatetically… Does place impact on writing?

Does where we write colour what we write? Do our surroundings impact on our work without us truly realising? And how about the weather – or the quality and intensity of sunlight? These are the questions I was asking myself on my morning walk today, beside the River Glomma, in Norway. One month ago I was working in Costa Rica, basking in tropical temperatures and extraordinary dramatic sunsets.

Costa Rican sunset January 2017. Photo: Kaite O’Reilly

In San Jose I started a project exploring poetry and found a vibrancy and detail in my writing which was unusual – I’m primarily a dramatist with a focus on the human… When writing for theatre, I’m not interested in descriptions, but relationships, atmosphere, pace and dynamic. It may be of course this new aspect has arrived because I am exploring new form, new process and with different stimuli… But the writing I have been making this past week in Norway has been somewhat stark compared to the rough notes I made on the Pacific coast.

The view from my Norwegian window. March 2017.

When I arrived in Norway it was snowing, and everything was in monochrome (interestingly, when initially writing this sentence, I made a typo and wrote everything was in monotone. I’m a playwright, it’s about tone and pitch and rhythm – so this error, I think, was revealing….)

This morning the sun came out in a gloriously blue sky, the snow has largely melted and I became aware again of a shift in my brain and wonder if this will manifest as a change in the texture and quality of my writing…

River Glomma March 10 2017

Does sunlight and environment effect mood, observation and state of mind? I’m used to writing on the hoof, not requiring one place to settle in in order to meet my deadlines – but I also know this is a skill it has taken many years to master, learnt the hard way, on the road.

2017 will be another year of writing peripatetically, and I’m going to be interested in what emerges both in my writing for performance and the experimentation I’m currently engaged with. I’m going to try and reflect on process, location, and outcome, and see how much my writing changes depending on place or medium.

Does where you write effect your work?

#yearofwritingperipatetically

3 responses to “The Year of Writing Peripatetically… Does place impact on writing?

  1. Pingback: Kaite O’Reilly Muses About The Impact of Environs on Writing | Journeys

  2. If I was writing full time I think it probably would, but as I write around my full time job I feel like I’m more aware of bringing my story world to the place I write, rather than being aware of where I’m writing and that impacting on my story world if that makes sense?
    That said I realised the other day that at my day job I sit next to a slanting glass window. And I recently -when I was away on a writing retreat- had written a slanted glass window into the set of my play. So clearly my surroundings DO influence me 🙂

  3. Love the reversal – i.e., bringing your story world to the place…. Interesting also how I was musing today on the impact of light and colour – but I can see in your example how the physical world can appear in what we write (often unconsciously)… Thanks so much for sharing that.

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