External Office

Typically, I commute by bicycle to and from work, Monday to Friday. This has been my routine for many years. With my current animation project, my studio will be at home (I will write more about that with subsequent posts). I value my journey as I get necessary fresh air and exercise, I see, hear, and smell the world around me, and I think things through in my mind. A lot of mental processing and reflection can be done while cycling. It is important creative time.

I need to keep this routine alive in my daily schedule. I came up with a plan of action. On days when I work in my home studio, as part of the drill I will factor in the equivalent of both a “to” and “from” journey, to bracket a typical work day. In addition, I plan to involve a commute away from home, once or twice a week, to be sure that I get out and make space for external influences and inspiration. Observing the world around me is important.

I did a test earlier in the summer. I journeyed on my bicycle to where I envisioned could be a remote office. I cycled to the McGill Library in North Burnaby. It’s an old haunt and a lovely spot to settle for a few hours with my laptop computer to pursue project tasks.

The route was straightforward and relatively easy, except for a long, but steady, incline along Gilmore Street. It amounts to a 40-minute journey. I peddled along the Central Valley Greenway, which is a cycle path that follows the Skytrain Millennium Line through Vancouver and Burnaby. Marshland, bullrushes, and birds are periodic along the way.

In subsequent posts, I will write about the significance of natural ecology as a theme in the continuing development of my project.

The cycle path along the Central Valley Greenway.

The cycle path along the Central Valley Greenway. An active rail line is on the right.


Bullrushes and marsh along the Central Valley Greenway.

“Still Creek” in Burnaby.


Marshy territory near “Still Creek.”


The McGill Library in North Burnaby.


The McGill Library in North Burnaby.


My external office at the McGill Library. I worked on script and storyboard revisions on that occasion.

Throughout the summer, I ventured by bike along the greenway on several occasions but on Tuesday, September 8th, I made an official start. It was after Labour Day, the first day of school for children and university students, and what is essentially the end of summer and the beginning of the true new year, so I commuted to my external office. On the way is the Burnaby Eco Centre, where I dropped off a collection of plastic shopping bags and styrofoam containers for recycling. It was also raining. After a very dry spring and summer in Vancouver, when we experienced drought conditions, it was a relief to see precipitation again.

Still Creek threads along the cycle path. The river had much more water and movement than during the previous summer months, which is good because in the past few years, salmon have come to spawn in the waterway, for the first time in decades. There have been concerns that, with low levels from the drought and warm water temperatures, it might not be possible for fish to make their way upstream in the autumn. I will check on this with my continued commutes to the external office.

I had intended to work on script and character development from my window seat in the McGill Library. I had packed a lunch and expected to work for most of the day. However, with the rain and significant change of temperature, I became quite chilly and had to venture home sooner than I had initially planned. Next time I’ll bring a thermos of warm coffee along.