Where in the world do you write? The window seat.

By Ellen McQueen

I have never done well with routine. I am not one of those writers who covets the same corner table at the same café, like Fitzgerald at Café de Flore or Patti Smith at Café ‘Ino, ordering the same cup of coffee that is sure to fuel the creative mind. 

I desperately want to be one. I want my order to be known before I ask for it, I want to avoid the wasted minutes of walking in circles trying to find the ultimate writing haven. But I’m too restless, too afraid of commitment, too all over the place. Too indecisive, too easily distracted. Some days too broke to justify espresso after espresso, some days too cold to leave the apartment. 


Somewhere between New York and Moscow / Ellen McQueen

I feel like a fraud, for it seems writers are supposed to have a special place to create their art, supposed to have that special table with that special chair and that special pen that are collectively the recipe for the perfect words, perfect metaphors, perfect characters. I write in my dining room, in my bed, in the park. In empty restaurants, in bars on Friday nights, in hotel lobbies where I play make-believe. My favorite place to write, though, the place where inspiration comes as a sudden surge through my skin and a muse pulses through my heart in that way it feels it’s actually growing bigger, as the Grinch’s does when it ceases to be three sizes too small, the place where I know I can produce my best ideas, my best thoughts, the place where I feel like a writer, like a creator, like an artist thoroughly in love with beauty and the world … that place is the window seat of an airplane.

Laptop propped on a small plastic ledge, headphones dulling the droning engine, book in lap, surrounded by strangers, a sense of adventure, a sense of wander, a momentary disbelief that we could be this high, forehead plastered to the window through take-off, saying goodbye to a city, literally in the clouds, over the clouds, watching the sun set or rise or follow along, watching golden specks of dust below bouncing off mountain ranges, hours of forced stillness, hours of contemplation, that whispering notion we could plummet to the sea, that exhilarated anticipation to be somewhere new, with new people, to see and learn and believe new things, clouds and sun and rainbows in the sky, the aurora borealis, other planes above or below going to Goa or Juno or Timbuktu, passengers crying because of goodbye, passengers popping pills, passengers without a return ticket, a family of five moving for a better life, a couple on their honeymoon, a young girl on her first trip alone to visit her father, a free glass of wine, ears popping, watching as thousands of miles of the world go by under your feet. Everything you know is down there. Everywhere you can go. This is a place to dream. This is a sense of freedom. This is my favorite place to write.

Where in the world do you write?

It could be a bar, a café, a library, or even your own writing nook at home. Send a photo, a short description, and a bio of yourself (optional) to rebekahleemays@gmail.com to have it featured on Litlag.

Ellen McQueen is a graduate of New York University where she studied English Literature and Creative Writing. She is currently living in Paris and working on a novel that will incorporate her love of travel.

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