Mais oui, my new writing studio

pexels-photo-256523.jpegSome writers choose to hide in the wardrobe each day and pretend they’re in Narnia.
For me, my imaginary place of writing is up a narrow flight of stone stairs leading to an apartment in the village of Saint Chinian, near Beziers in the south of France.
I was there for real on holidays. My desktop photo shows our hire car parked outside the apartment we rented for a week, and when I open up on my computer each day, it reminds me where I’m imagining I am just in case I have a mental lapse and think I’m actually in my study in Canberra.
Few people speak English in Saint Chinian, so there wasn’t much to do aside from visiting the twice-weekly markets or eat at one of the three or four restaurants in the village. But we had wi-fi and I thought I could be quite happy working there, sans distractions, pausing every now and then to walk a couple of cobblestone streets to the patisserie and use my fluent command of French, which goes all the way from un to dix, to order anything between one and ten pain au chocolate, or make a detour to a cafe, sit at a table on the street and watch la monde go by as I sip my morning espresso.
One of the things I do now is go for a long walk each day here in the A.C.T.. Chocolate croissants are off my wish list, reluctantly, but one of my simple pleasures is to listen to a podcast while I walk.
Some years ago, I wrote a daily column for The Canberra Times and when I started the editor gave me the option of working from home or the office. “I don’t care if you write it at the beach as long as it gets done,” he said.
I’m not really much of a fan of beaches. But I wish I had known about Saint Chinian then.

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