The day I decided that I would begin writing my first novel, I knew that I’d need to find a place completely devoid of distractions. I considered our private courtyard among the inspiring melodies of birds, the soothing sound of rippling water and the comfort of warm Central Oregon sunshine. Yes, those were all appealing, but they would ultimately become distractions, not to mention that the comfortable spring and summer seasons would eventually give way to the cold winter weather. Then I considered our in-home office with the comfy chair, spacious desk and all the amenities of home. No, the house posed too many interruptions: my lovely wife, my rambunctious dog, my meddlesome cat and the food-filled refrigerator.
Then in a flash of brilliance it came to me: The Man Cave!
Dubbed “The Man Cave” or simply, “The Cave”, by friends and neighbors, it was actually our RV garage and one of my favorite sanctuaries. Sure, it too had some probable distractions, such as my trusty tools, the stereo, the 60-inch plasma TV and potentially the most hazardous of all distractions—the kegerator. I had always kept it stocked with a keg of one of our favorite craft beers, from which we had many selections living in the craft beer mecca of Bend, Oregon. After reasoning that my desire to write a novel was just far too compelling to cave-in to the temptation of a cold mug or two of beer, I got started almost immediately.
Surprisingly, I didn’t suffer through a case of the slow-start blues, but instead the words flowed easily from my inspired mind and onto my computer. The first chapter was completed with amazing speed, and the second chapter was well under way when I hit a bit of a block. No worries, I thought, I’ll just step outside for a breath of fresh spring air, and the words will all start flowing again momentarily. I walked toward the door, and that’s when I met with my first big distraction. To get through the door, I had to walk right past the kegerator. As I walked past, I valiantly resisted the urge for about two seconds, but reasoned that a cold beer would likely help to jump-start my suddenly quiet imagination. After all, in Peter De Vries’s novel Reuben, Reuben, the main character based on a famous drunkard poet, Dylan Thomas, penned, “Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.”
So, with that thought, I poured my first beer as an aspiring author without a shred of guilt. The words and an occasional beer flowed for months until I completed the manuscript for my first novel, Errand Runner.