Here’s a dilemma-but-not-really: I’m never sure whether to take my writing with me when I go on holiday. Poor me! On the one hand it feels as though being in a completely different environment should stir up the imagination soup in my brain bowl nicely, leaving me with the sole task of ladling it onto the page and giving it a bit of seasoning. On the other hand, when I’m out of this apartment - where I’ve spent approximately 75% of all the time available to me for the past four years - all I want to do is forget about the tiny wooden desk (that’s actually a bedside table) and the armchair that I’ve dug my feet into so much that the upholstery resembles a piece of gauze slapped over a war wound. What usually happens is that I stress out for the first few days of the holiday because I’m not writing anything, meaning that I’m unable to fully relax and give myself up to the new environment, and then, when I do finally find an hour or two to sit down to write, I ask myself what I think I’m doing. I didn’t fly 10 hours on a plane* to sit in a hotel room, hunched over an oil-tanker-slow laptop/tablet hybrid, and tap out a story about, I dunno, a Burmese monk who reads out fortune cookies to passers-by (I did this).
All this to say that at the beginning of March I went to Oman, a country of mountains and deserts and valleys and oases and beaches and nearly vacant highways that roll ever outward like bolts of grey cloth over a scrubland sea. Being there is like having one foot in a post-apocalyptic movie and the other in the Garden of Eden, its sense of emptiness tempered by an overwhelming natural beauty. It is a place of inspiration and desolation, supersonic winds, dirt tracks on mountains with hairpin bends and drop-offs into the void, abandoned villages, 4G in the desert, smugglers ferrying contraband to Iran, significant migrant populations and few tourists. It’s a good place to gain inspiration.
Also for those two weeks I only listened to 80s electronica, so the songs below were a good palate cleanser when I got back to hey-remember-the-rain-well-look-forward-to-twelve-days-of-it Berlin.
*Moaning all the time about climate change and yet I still fly to places on holiday. What a hypocrite.