Posted by: oneyearbook | February 24, 2009

Getting away from it all

“I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, but until I came to Japan to live in 1994 I was too easily distracted to do much about it.”
That’s David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas, one of my favorite novels, and Black Swan Green, another great modern novel, among others), on the big change in his existence that it took to get a novel written.
He shares the story of how his move to Japan (to teach, I believe) put him in exactly the right mind-state to begin writing in this interesting essay, on the Random House site. He talks about how being in a place where he felt so foreign, so disconnected from what was happening around him, allowed him to enter the world of his own invention, inhabited by his characters, instead.
This essay was one of the things that inspired me when I first decided to take this year off, made me think it could be the right decision for me. Not because day after day in my own apartment will be so foreign, or isolate me from society (although it might do that), but because I liked the thought that a major change, a decision to be elsewhere, in a different experience from usual, a different mindset, allowed his writing to flourish. Mine will be a step that’s closer to home, but hopefully, will have a similar effect.


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