Room in Hanoi where I wrote
'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix'
Virginia Woolf famously noted that "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write...". Woolf was referring to fiction, although I think the same applies of non-fiction. Space, glorious space to oneself. Natural light to bolt the body's circadian rhythms into action each morning. And, I would add, a local dealer or supply of caffeine drug.
Having undertaken the research for my book in museums, libraries and dungeons of the world; predominantly Australia, the UK and the USA, I decided to go to Hanoi to finish up the writing of my book, over a 3 month period. Why Hanoi? The considerations were threefold. I hadn't had a proper Summer in years, with my European summers usually cut into by the annual visa pilgrimage back to the Southern hemisphere Antipodes and into Winter, meaning I only got about a month of Summer for four years running. So criteria 1, was somewhere that would be warm and sunny in April. Secondly it had to be somewhere "cheap and cheerful", where I could afford to be off work for 3 months, with inexpensive accommodation. And lastly, I wanted to be somewhere exotic that I hadn't been to before, with healthy and nourishing food. I settled on Vietnam, and in particular the French colonial flavoured city of Hanoi in the North.
Street scene in Old Quarter of Hanoi
I booked a cheap 2 star hotel in the old quarter which had cheery reviews on Trip Advisor. And I flew off into the exotic unknown with relative confidence. It was a great trip. I achieved exactly what I set out to do, finishing up my book. Breakfasts of fresh fruit, cheese, toast, and fabulous coffee. Who knew Vietnam had such amazing coffee?? Amongst the best I've had in the world, with selections of coffees that are passed through the bodies of animals such as civets, to come out the other end in their feces, with the beans processed and sterilized to make the world's best coffee. So thanks to 'shit coffee', warm weather, light, and friendly people, I had the perfect environment to finish off my book.
I write this as I prepare to depart to another location to write my second book,- the island of Cyprus. I am due to leave in just over 2 weeks time, to undertake final research and writing of 'Flight of the Goddess'. I've begun packing, and my suitcase is already half-full of articles, books and reference material.
The island of Cyprus, where I will be based to research and write my
second non-fiction book, 'Flight of the Goddess'.