Admittedly not all work is suited for this. For one thing, it needs to be work done on a computer. :) For another thing it needs to be resonably location-independent.
But much work is suited for it, not the least the work of the writer. It may be that some writers work best in solitude, but many others work best bolstered by a bit of life around them, as in cafes, restaurants, shopping centres, parks, etc.
And laptops, like most technologies today, continue to get better and cheaper all the time. I'd like to recommend two very different machines for the writer/girlwatcher: The new compact Apple 12 inch Powerbook, and the Alphasmart Dana. Both are getting glowing reviews from sources like the New York Times and Washington Post; they are both amongst the most economical, compact, and full-featured in their categories. The Dana is even a new sort of creature, it is not a hand-held, and not really a laptop, but it combines many of the features of both, at very low weight and price.
All the better to be able to flirt with a pretty waitress while earning your living. :)
Letter of the week, from BB
Almost twenty years ago I was having a horrible time in high school. I attended a small rural school that combined years 7 to 10 in one class. Previously I had been very popular as I enjoyed acting and was quite good at art, so everyone wanted to be a part of what I was doing. Half way through year 8, a new kid named Cameron started in year 10, and decided that he didn't like the hierarchy the way it was. He wanted to be the most popular and being twice my size, was not content in taking away the limelight - he preferred to turn my former friends against me as well.
After a month of rough treatment my confidence was in ruins. Soon it was time for exams, and I feared I wouldn't be able to fight through my depression. Just sitting through the exams was going to be bad as my nerves were so bad.
The week before the exams I had an accident on my bike and broke my arm, my collarbone and ripped open my knee. As lay unable to get up, I was amazed by the number of cars that drove by with occupants looking out and seeing my predicament, but with no one stopping. I must have lay there for almost an hour. I remember thinking that this was my lot for the rest of my life - that no one cared about my pain or me.
After what seemed like an age a car pulled up and two men with American accents attended to my needs. I noticed from nametags that they wore that they were both members of a particular religious group, which concerned me. Were they going to use this as an opportunity to 'witness' to a helpless individual who couldn't get away?
As it happened they drove me home after asking if I wanted to be taken to a hospital. There was no one at home, so they took me back to the house of the older gentleman to make me comfortable whilst they continued to try and reach my parents on my home number, and at their respective work places.
Whilst I lay on a comfortable couch that smelled of roses I admired through the tall glass windows that made up one entire wall of the lounge room the man's spacious and beautifully landscaped backyard, that rambled away up a wooded slope. The next thing I knew I heard a voice that made me wonder whether these men had summoned an angel for my healing, and turned with beating heart to see a girl, a few years older than I addressing the owner of the house. She was dressed in a light summer dress, white with red roses, which gave me a full view of her gorgeous legs. I felt as if I was turning as red as the flowers that she bore across her breast.
It was obvious that they were father and daughter. The father led her to another room to continue their discussion, which I picked up in snatches. Apparently she wished to attend a dance with some friends, which her father seemed to object to; I think I heard the term "immoral". Her voice grew to a heart-breaking pleading tone, but the conversation ended with words that I clearly heard from the father. "Go to your room".
I felt tense. This situation was not helping how I felt inside. Here were these people who had been seemingly compassionate towards me, but in regards to the man's own family he seemed horribly draconian. He returned to my side with a false smile on his face and suggested that maybe I would like to sit out in the garden, considering it was turning into such a bright afternoon. I agreed.
I did feel calmer in the garden but my thoughts kept returning to the girl. I kept trying to visualise her again in my minds eye. Tall, slim but with delicate curves visible under her summer dress. I looked back at the house, imaging with my youthful naivety that I could use x-ray vision to find her in her room, and in a way share her confinement.
Suddenly a window in the upper story opened and I looked straight into the full power of creation. She was standing there naked beneath the long curls of her red hair that swept across her rounded breasts. She looked me dead in the eye with a face both defiant and honest, and I knew at once what she was saying. She was offering a vision of her inner-self, what her father had no power to control. At that moment, my vision seemed to see a light within her and her nakedness was not an element of embarrassment - it was if we were sharing souls. I almost felt I could see myself from her eyes, that she saw me as a person of worth and worthy indeed to behold her sacred gift.
An eternity passed, and it is still with me. If I close my eyes and cast my mind back I can see her still - although the vision has become more sanctified in time. Yet it could not last forever. The man immerged from his palace prison to announce that he had got in touch with my mother and she was on her way. There was a scramble above me, and the girl's window was closed. The man looked into my face and laughed. Apparently I had an expression of dazed wonder, and he wondered if I was going to pass out.
But that is not the end of the story. Her gift continued to fuel me in ways that I will forever be grateful for. When I returned to school I somehow seemed to regain my old self. Friends noticed 'a change in me' and once again I regained my former social ground. Even Cameron seemed to diminish in power and came to be regarded as petty. He moved interstate at the end of the year.
I am now married with three daughters (all red heads - I could never lose my love for hair of flame) and I have told my wife this story. My hope is that the girl gained as much power and freedom from the experience as I did.
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Fine art nudes © Alexander Feodorov and Andrey Slastyonoff.