Sunday, July 05, 2009

Musings about Studios and Writing

Last night did not go well. We were able to set up the CPAP machines once Peter remade the bed so that the head became the foot of the bed and we could both reach the outlet with our cords and manage the hoses. Traveling with medical equipment is no fun. We also don't have any hot water so I have sent a text to the agent. She is supposed to come at 7 pm to help us out, even though today is her day off.

Back to the bad night. Peter had a lot of trouble getting comfortable on the foldout couch so that affected both of us in terms of sleeping. There is nowhere to go in a studio apartment. Of ocurse now I am writing at the kitchen counter (well now I am retyping at the Internet point) because there is still nowhere to go. We always have this issue when we travel since I get up so early and he sleeps so much later. Fortunately while we are taking classes he will have to get up early too.

My latest adventure was with the gas stove. Because I have electric at home and I am used to gas stoves that turn on automatically, I had some difficulty with this one. First I had to figure out how to use the lighter. Not rocket science I know but not as easy as the one I use when the pilot light goes out on our fireplace at home. Then, once I hade that and had finally gotten a flame on the burner, I had to figure out how to turn the knob so it didn't go off immediately. Finally figured it out. At least I know how to use a Bialetti. This is the small size. I bought a packet of Lavazza yesterday so I am having my first goood cup of coffee on this trip. No, I did have a good cup of espresso at the Bruges train station when we got back from Ghent. But this is really good coffee and I look forward to more. I wish I could say I was having brioche con cicciolata with it but I will be having Cheerios and yogurt. I should get lots of practice lighting the sove since I will have to make several pots of coffee every morning.

I am starting to regret not having a computer with me, not for wireless service since at the moment I don't have that any way but for writing. The iPhone is great but it isn't really the best writing tool for a touch typish and I am of the age of touch typing alas. Typing on a computer, however, erodes your manual writing skills, and I am finding that making the effort to write legibly so I can transcribe this is taxing. While the transcription will inevitably mean revision on the spot, the initial writing is physically painful in a way that I barely remember from the days when I wrote out all my drafts by hand, revised, and then typed good copies since you couldn't use erasable bond and white-out and we didn't have IBM Selectrics to do our corrections in college and grad school.

I wouldn't want to have my MacBook on this trip since I needed to pack very lightly and there is the barge and bike at the end. David Pogue may prefer his Mac Air to any netbook on the market but I doubt that I will be in a financial position to own a new MacBook Pro and a Mac Air as my next two computers, nice as that might be. So I am starting to toy with the idea of of a netbook for travel. Right now I could be typing this, planning to upload it when a wirelss connect became available or using a flashdrive to transfer it if I had to go to an Internet point. I could put on the pictures from my camera so you coul dsee Bruges and Ghent and eventually Venice and the bike trip. And I could work on the ideas I have been jotting down in my note-taking program on my iPhone for my paper for the RSA (Renaissance Society of America) conference next April back in Venice and for the histrical nvel I am thinking about, based in Bruges, and my teaching and lecture plans, the mystery I want to write, and maybe a couple of other scholarly paper ideas. Deep down I still want to do something with my book on Giles Daubeney and perhaps with all that material I amassed on women's book collections when I was in Paris in 2000.

For the moment I am back to the traditional notebook and pen and that is bad. I wrote up journals of other trips that way before I started to blog and they are still in notebooks. Maybe no one will ever want to read my comments about Turkey in 2003, Padua in 2006 and 2007 and Istanbul in 2006-2007, but when friends asked about those trips, my responses were short. I sent some pictures. That was it. For Morocco I didn't keep a journal at all, which was a shame. The first trip I blogged was our Rhine cruise and the few friends who read it seemed to enjoy it. More important, it is a word and picture record for me that I can access easily. I don't have to decipher my illegible handwriting.

We have lots of pictures from earlier trips in nondigital format and I have asked Peter to go through and acan some of them. We have some great pictures from our two trips to the Soviet Union and pictures of Christo's wrapped Reichstag that I would like digitized.

The mokka pot cooled enough for a second pot and it took me somewhat fewer tries with the lighter and the burner. By the end of two weeks I might be an expert. And perhaps, by then, we will have hot water.

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