7 Reasons To Write In The Park
Something amazing happened yesterday; the sun came out in Yorkshire. With a mixture of delirium, excitement and astonishment I abandoned my plans and headed off to my local park. I decided to justify this dereliction of home improvement duty by coming up with 7 Reasons To Write In The Park.
1. Fitness. I walked to the park, something that probably counts as one of my five portions of exercise per day. Had I stayed at home to write I would have had to have paced up-and-down to achieve the same effect. Not for very long, the park’s just around the corner, but still, it all helps.
2. Ice Cream. There is no ice cream in my house, but my local park has an ice cream vendor. I love ice cream, and it turns out that it’s a brilliant accompaniment to writing, better even than the bananas that usually fuel my compositions. Obviously your local park might not have ice cream, but it’s not my fault if your park sucks and mine doesn’t.
3. Inspiration. While I was writing in the park two middle-aged men, deep in conversation, walked past me and I overheard one of them exclaim, “…I don’t even own a dress!” I have no idea what the context was, but at some point I’ll be able to use this in something. It’s currently a monologue, but eventually, I may be able to use it as dialogue – or perhaps even trialogue – if such a thing exists. Those words came free at the park; I wouldn’t have heard anyone say them at home. And by that, I don’t mean that I own a dress, I mean that I wouldn’t be saying it aloud to myself while writing. My wife wouldn’t say it either. She has loads of the things. They’re everywhere.
4. Sunlight. Often, when writing, the location of the writer means that they don’t see much sunlight. In my case, I usually write near a window in a West facing room in North Yorkshire so I’m more likely to see a unicorn piloting a zeppelin to Greenland than I am to see the sun. Yesterday, however, as I emerged from my house blinking and startled into the sunlight and headed off to the park it felt good. I may have even tanned slightly while writing! Extraordinary.
5. Ducks. There are ducks in the park. Ducks are among the cutest animals in the world; they’re amazing. Right about now, you’re probably asking yourself: How did the ducks help with the writing? Well, if I hadn’t seen the ducks, I wouldn’t have mentioned them and these words wouldn’t be here and you’d just be staring at a blank screen. That’s how the ducks helped. Bet you’re glad I didn’t see geese.
6. Comparison. When I write at home I write in a room full of books. From my desk I can see a sizable collection of exalted works by a canon of noteworthy authors. This is intimidating company for anyone trying to write anything. In the park, I was free from any feelings of inferiority and was able to scrawl my hackneyed musings…er…compose my insightful witticisms unabashed. I did briefly sight a man that resembled the late poet Philip Larkin, but it wasn’t him. The real Philip Larkin would never have tripped over a sunbather.
7. Just Because. It’s just nice in the park. It was a glorious day and had I stayed at home I’d have been obliged to varnish the garden furniture or paint a wall or something. But I didn’t. I went to the park, had a good time writing and was nearer to the pub when I’d finished. The whole experience left me feeling thoroughly happy and with a great sense of well-being. In conclusion; if you need to write anything, the park’s the place to do it.*
*Unless you’re Philip Roth or James Ellroy, I don’t need the pressure.