A carpark of one’s own

I need to find a new place to write. My glorious writer’s retreat, the empty house of my parents-in-law, is no more. They had the audacity to come back from Adelaide and actually want to live in their own house. Did you ever! Libraries aren’t open when I want them to be and I don’t want to take up a table for too long in a cafe that’s struggling to get back on its feet. And I can’t work at home. If I’m at home, everyone automatically assumes I’m in charge. And there’s no space. My eldest daughter sleeps in an ACTUAL CUPBOARD. Last week, I did some work on my novel in the car with a drive-thru coffee, parked next to the local community gardens. I prop my phone on the steering wheel and get it to talk to my bluetooth keyboard, on my lap.

There was this grey noisy miner that kept attacking my side mirror. It wanted to show that other bird in there who’s boss. It wouldn’t have done that if it were a raven or a magpie. Ravens and magpies are smart enough to recognise their own reflection. But noisy miners are stupid, stupid birds.

I tried to ignore it and work on my novel. I did a lot more frowning than I did typing. After a bit, a police car crawled slowly past me. When it got to the end of the street, it did a u-turn and crawled slowly back. Both policemen were watching me as they approached. I hastily pulled up my face-mask. Was I doing something illegal? I don’t need the four reasons to be out of the house anymore, do I?

The car pulled alongside mine and the driver motioned for me to wind down my window. He peered at me “Is everything OK?”

Everything was not OK. My manuscript was a mess and I was starting to doubt my ability to ever make it into a coherent whole. Every scene was missing beginnings or endings and peppered all over with [SHOUTY NOTES]. I was ridiculous for ever thinking I had the skills to take this on. A flock of kamikaze birds kept hurtling themselves into the mirror next to me, making me jump. And I needed to find a way to make Harper’s story work. How was I ever going to make Harper’s story work?

I nodded like a maniac and garbled something about writing. I waved my bluetooth keyboard at them, “I have kids at home!” I exclaimed.

The policeman frowned and drove off. I forgot to mention that my kids at home were being adequately supervised. Oh well.

Today I’m going deep water running with a friend. I have no idea what ‘deep water running’ is, but I’m doing it in person with a friend, so that’s all I really need to know. I’m in the carpark of the council pool right now. I’m an hour early on purpose. And here’s the thing: Nobody looks at you funny if you’re doing work in your car at a pool carpark. Everybody is doing work in their car at a pool carpark. I’m now googling the carparks of all of the local sporting complexes to compare their varying benefits as writer’s retreats. It’s very possible the rest of this novel will be written outside of a place with “SAC” somewhere in its name.

Watch this (car) space.


6 thoughts on “A carpark of one’s own

  1. kw06

    Kate, I love your post. Point 1: Shame on your parents in law returning to their home. They should have stayed in Port Douglas with your parents.😩 Point 2: Glad you have a friend.🌹Point 3: Glad your children had ‘adequate’ care while you were away😂 and Point 4: Did I mention I love your post ❤️

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Kathleen Walter I love YOU, Mum! And I really am happy to have my parents and my parents-in-law back, even though the photos of you all in a beachside paradise were entertaining/infuriating!

  2. Rose and Murray Dodd

    What a bright post Kate!
    Sorry you have to find somewhere else to write however as the saying goes ‘necessity is the mother of invention ‘.
    Seems to us that you’ve already managed to go on another tangent with your car park office.
    Keep on writing your enlightening articles and novels. We love reading them.
    I remember reading your mum’s essays when she was a big girl at senior school. 💖💖💖

  3. chimes3766

    Love ya work, Kate! But ohhhh! you put me to shame :-O I’ve been ‘working’ on some simply splendid (no, really) Booker-Prize-worthy pieces for a while now, but – y’know – Covid, lockdown, libraries closed, distractions at home (all my own fault) etc. So until now, some very good reasons for limited (euphemism for ‘no’) progress.
    Yet here’s you wrestling with a manuscript and STILL finding time for a _fabulous_ blog piece delivered via mobile phone (who are you anyway – Behrouz Boochani? lol) from your car under the scrutiny of noisy miners and nosey policemen!
    And there you have it: writers WRITE – they cannot not write 🙂 The novel will happen because it is being written by a writer, even a distracted one. In the car parks of suburban sports complexes (or is it complices?) if it is the only way. Hang in there Kate, you can do this. One advanced order for a signed copy, please!

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Richard Jupp Aw, thank you so much, Richard! I definitely miss libraries being open when I want them to (especially Deakin’s 24 hour library. That was the best!). As I was working on this blog post (which, in itself, was a means of procrastinating from working on the novel) I came across an unpublished draft of a blog post from 2018. It talked about how I was in the middle of writing a novel and hoped to have it finished by the end of the year! Sigh! These things always take so much longer than we want them to!


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