I’m not the type of writer who believes there is only one place suitable to write – wherever their place of preference may be. Rather, I believe different places provide their own suitability for writing, some may even provide motivation in their own right. Flying back from my recent holiday I discovered, to my surprise, one of those places was in the air.
I was flying back from Western Australia. As a Qantas frequent flyer member I usually try my luck at upgrading to Business on longer flights but this time I was unlucky. I got my usual aisle seat and made myself as comfortable as I could. In order to access a range of inflight entertainment I should have downloaded the app but I hadn’t realised this and it was now too late. I wasn’t keen on the one movie playing on the small screens dangling from the ceiling so I turned my Kindle on and read for a bit.
The meal came, served by some of the friendliest flight attendants I have encountered. They certainly went out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable and, unlike a café or bar, you don’t have to continue to pay for more coffee or food in order to ease your guilt about taking up space for long periods of time. The downside is no internet and lack of space.
Once the meal was cleared away I found I didn’t really want to continue reading and it suddenly struck me, here I was with a tray table, pen, paper and very few distractions, the perfect scenario for writing.
As I scribbled away I caught wisps of conversation from all around me. Flights are perfect for deliberate eavesdropping without having to explain oneself. I caught bits of a discussion about some celebrities who had featured in a magazine the women next to me were reading. The school kids in front of me were discussing the interstate excursion they were returning from, with a few interjections from their accompanying teachers. A couple of foreigners, who I assumed to be backpackers, were chatting in their own language. And all of these words were punctuated with the occasional cry of a baby or raised voice of a toddler.
There must have been so many different stories on my flight. I looked around and tried to picture my fellow travelers as characters. Why were all these people flying to Melbourne? Were they, like me, returning home? Were they beginning a holiday, a business trip, catching a connecting flight to somewhere else?
Not only did I write this post on the plane, I also jotted down a few scenarios, possible plots, which I might or might not use later on. The flight, the lack of entertainment, the many different people around me, all provided the means and the motivation for writing. I never would have thought the sky would be such a good place to write.