After two days coffee free, there wasn't a chance I was going to miss out on the caffeinated discussion at the Book Club Breakfast. I was invited to photograph the event, an informal panel about "Writing from the Soul" with author Dipika Rai, poet and hotelier John O'Sullivan, and restaurateur and blogger Karen Waddell.
Held at the recently opened Il Giardino restaurant in the grounds of Han Snel Bungalows, the breakfast buffet included Italian delicacies such as ricotta filled cannoli and mushroom bruschetta, with free flowing espresso and crisp almond biscotti. Ibu Made Siti (Mrs Snel) made an appearance and ordered a cappuccino; embracing the new offering among her lotus garden.
John spoke of finding a flow in writing, even if that means creating "artificial steps to get traction and overcome fear." He said "don't be afraid the words are going to strangle you, you won't get the bends if you come up slowly. Fear is like a mist that impregnates you and gives you a reason not to write. Ignore it, do whatever you need to, whatever is authentic to you." Dipika echoed the sentiment of fake it till you make it. "It will happen, just kick yourself out of the door."
Taking a sabbatical from his time as general manager of the Four Seasons Resorts to focus more on his writing, family and the "latent accessible spirituality" in Bali, John spoke of the difficulty to stay sensitive to a "duality of purpose between work and writing." His desire was to create a space, a time to recalibrate away from the eternal churning of life. "I want to be able to eat little hearts off cupcakes; to take my kids to school and watch them pick their nose in the rear view mirror. I want to break the cycle and find out who I am."
Karen, the founder of five restaurants in Ubud explained that she doesn't try and fit in eight hours of writing each day, preferring a "much saner approach, but with enough time to keep the ferment going." She said she aims to be consistent "so the mind keeps moving", and sees the writing process as an "escapists world where we set the rules and it travels with you." Dipika writes first thing in the morning, before she even pats the dog, then jots down ideas as flashes come into her mind throughout the day. She urged writers to be disciplined but not debilitated, "even if it is only five sentences a day."
Whether writing, painting, dancing or composing, it is imperative that we carve time for ourselves, choose to incorporate creativity into daily life, or as John put it in his thick Irish brogue, "dig your own furrow."