Writing on the Road

Okay, since that last entry I’ve a) had about six gallons of coffee and b) had a shower so hot things melted. As a result, I’m feeling somewhat better. I’m not a very good traveler, as anyone who’s read¬†The inner Swine can tell you; I’m a whiny and unappreciative tourist. Here’s a sample of what it’s like to travel with me:

YOU: Look, Jeff, the Sistine Chapel!

ME: Bugger.

See? Not fun. I freely admit to being a terrible traveler. Add in traveling for the holidays, and damn, my ass, it is kicked. Because after hours on planes, trains, and automobiles, I then stand around for sixteen hours or so eating heavy food and drinking whiskey in random bursts. I know, I know Рgood food and booze, friends and family, poor Jeff. I get that kind of sarcastic response a lot.

Trying to write on the road is weird. On the one hand you’ve got lots of time constraints – right now I’ve got about half an hour before The Duchess gets back from her run and Round Two of Extended Family Holiday Extravaganza begins. On the other hand, I work well with time constraints. The less time I have the more I produced, and vice versa. On the one hand, I also don’t get a lot of time to just sit and ponder plot points et al, but on the other hand there’s a wealth of observable material that differs tremendously from what you’re used to seeing.

And then, there’s hotels.

I love hotels. Which is weird, since I just went out of my way to complain about traveling, of which hotels are often a necessary part. But hotels are great for writing, especially old hotels with lots of history and architectural detail. The older the better, in fact, for writing science fiction, I think, because they’re like time machines, giving you a glimpse into the past and also standing as testament that just because you’re writing a story set in the future, you don’t need to assume everything’s been destroyed and replaced, which some writers do. You see a lot of future fiction where the world has apparently been scrubbed clean and everything replaced with shiny new versions, when in reality it’s probably the opposite: A lot of very old things, like ancient hotels, just retrofitted, applied to new uses, and lingering there with their aura of old, old charm, the ghosts of the past howling about silently.

That, and the fact that I can get anything delivered to my room with a phone call. Hotels rock. I tried that back at home and got a sneer from The Duchess for my troubles.

Happy Holidays, everyone, and if these ain’t your holidays, happy Friday.


  1. Miss K

    Happy holidays, Mr. Somers (and The Duchess). Hope you had an adequate amount of alcohol to help you through the chaos of Christmas and such.
    Have an awesome New Year and keep entertaining us lazy bastards who can’t be bothered to write for ourselves.

    All the best,
    Miss K

  2. Damaso

    Did I miss something? Why in the world are you in Texas?

  3. jsomers

    Miss K,

    For The Duchess, about half a beer or a glass of wine is more than enough. More than that and she gets all giggly and uncontrollable. Which makes for some interesting bar appearances:

    HER: I’ll have a Diet Coke.
    ME: Gimme that bottle. No, not that one, *that* one. DAMN YOU JUST HAND IT OVER!

    Thanks for the well-wishes – HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


  4. jsomers


    The Duchess’ title is technically Lady Duchess of The Hill Country, Texas. All her people are in the Independent Republic of Texas, thus we travel there frequently to pay homage.


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