Without finding a place to fix our ailing generator, we set off east on Highway 40. It was Saturday morning and we needed to be in Santa Fe on Sunday night, as I had an appointment to begin my research at the Georgia O’Keeffe Library on Monday morning. We figured that something would present itself. We would pass an RV generator repair place, or Jerrod would figure out how to fix it, or we would stop for the night at a place with a hook-up.
The most punitive thing about making a living as a writer is sitting at your desk for hours on end, day in day out, week in, week out, most likely in a room without a view, or perhaps even a window. Sometimes, the urge to hop on a bike, a horse, or just get in the car and go can be overwhelming. But then, of course, if you are going you are not writing. It’s one or the other. Usually, if you want to eat, it’s the one, being chained to your desk in the windowless room. There are days when you realize that without much adjustment you could serve time in minimum security prison. (The argument could be made that this is also true for the corporate cube dweller, but the cube dweller has a built-in community, plus benefits and office supplies for the lifting.)
I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be this way. The Mobile Writers’ Colony (TM), which I discovered on this day, is the answer to the woes of every fat-assed, indolent, stuck-at-the-desk writer out there. The writing life would be absolutely perfect if we could all be driven around during working hours, preferably through spectacular landscape, such as that found along Highway 40 in northern Arizona.
Once Jerrod and I were on our way I made us each a PB&J, set up my laptop on the dining table, seat-belted myself onto brown plaid banquette, and set to work. Using the WiFi hot spot on my phone, I even had internet access. Outside the sky was vast and littered with a variety of clouds. The Grand Canyon was a hundred miles due north, but we could see the predicted thunderstorm brewing on the horizon.
We sped along. I typed away. And, I had my dog, too. Lolita Gordita napped on her spot on the couch.
When I was in college my roommate and I experienced a common dilemma: feeling attracted to a hot guy with whom one had nothing to say, while, at the same time, feeling no attraction to interesting, entertaining guys with whom one had great conversations, but never wanted to sleep with. Our solution was to sleep with the hot guy while talking on the phone to the interesting, entertaining guy. Not that either of us, to my knowledge, was ever able to pull this off, but it seemed like the perfect solution.
Now, here I was, having solved a more common, more pressing, if similar problem: how to sit and work and get up and go at the same time. The Mobile Writer’s Colony (TM) only works, obviously, if you have someone who likes to drive and much as you like to (or need to) sit and work. Jerrod was good for about three hundred miles a day, which gave me about five hours to work. That day, I wrote eight hundred words. Life could not possibly get better than this.
Georgia herself had a Mobile Artists’ Studio (TM). The minute she learned how to drive she purchased a Model T Ford (which she named “Hello”). She figured out that she could take out the backseat and turn it around, creating a makeshift easel. She could then tool around the gorgeous, forbidding New Mexican outback, stop when she found something she wanted to paint, then set herself up inside the back of Hello, where she worked to her heart’s content.
The Mobile Writer’s Colony (TM) is much cushier, admittedly, but I am from a more pampered generation.In late afternoon we stumbled upon the Homolavi Ruin State Park Campground, just outside of Winslow. It had hook-ups. We had filled the ice cube trays the day before, and now we had gin and tonics.