To start off our new series titled My Bag, My Office, we interviewed the talented writer Mairead Kelly, based in Boston MA. We got a glimpse into what her nomadic creative lifestyle is like, checked out her extensive record collection & knick-knack filled room, and got to know a bit more about what mobility means to Mairead. Check out the interview below.
Where are your favorite places to work?
Any place with good light and a little buzz. Not talking bees or cocktails when speaking of the latter, but the kind of space with a little activity to help me keep my head down. Think coffee shops, the library, even my kitchen if my roommates are home. When I started out as a writer, I practically needed total silence to form a coherent sentence. These days, I almost need the noise of other people to write. Which is crazy, I’m a massive introvert.
How do you keep yourself focused and organized?
Organization is easy. I have an elephant’s memory for dates and deadlines, so keeping an eye on projects, following up with clients, and just generally tying up loose ends is pretty much standard operation for me. But concentration is a whole different story. Naturally I’m most focused when excited about a piece. If it’s more production-style work, I’ll need caffeine and aggressive music to keep things running. Sometimes, when I’m feeling especially spacey I’ll pause a project to get my immediate thoughts down on paper in a kind of stream of consciousness style Kerouac would’ve favored if he were a sarcastic millennial with anxiety and low self-esteem.
Organization tip: the Kolo Parker Soft Cube (left) is perfect for keeping your writing utensils & chargers in one spot. (Right) Take your keys and charger with you at the same time with a Native Union Key Cable.
Where do you go for inspiration?
As a kid, music and books first got me thinking about the power of words, and they still keep me going today. I’m also a sucker for everyday humor, like witnessing two elderly women conspiring to steal a shopping cart from the parking lot of your neighborhood grocery store, or convincing yourself that the baby waddling down the street with his mother is actually a very small, bald, drunk person.
Then there’s movies and shows, and my eclectic group of thoughtful and preposterously talented friends, most of which have footing in the Boston music scene. I’m also quick to run ideas by my boyfriend, who’s a mix of intellectual wunderkind and art lovin’ goofball.
(Bottom left) The Kolo Bristol Journal is compact & ideal for those lightbulb moments while you’re on the go. Pair the journal with a Rotring Pro Mechanical Pencil.
Do you find inspiration in a mobile, creative work lifestyle?
It’s good for you to switch up your surroundings. It’s even better for you to interact with people whose ideas and perspectives differ from you own. To me, mobility is one of the best ways to stay creative. There’s very little challenge to staying within your comfort zone, and certainly even less inspiration.
Any other information about your creative interests that you'd like to share?
The German-born American Conceptual artist Hans Haacke was quoted in a 2016 New Yorker piece as saying, “In order to say what’s on your mind, you have to find a source of income that doesn’t depend on the sale of your work.” I love this notion, not just as a writer, but as a young creative living in a time where the people expect you to exchange work for “exposure.” For me, Hans’ sentiment is one to help me stay wildly idealistic about writing while keeping a grip on the realistic demands of the industry. It’s a reminder to create first for my own happiness and second, to pay the rent. That way, I’ll always be able to say what’s on my mind—and maybe more specifically, make myself heard.
Pack it all up in a Kolo Portland Daypack and move seamlessly between one place & the next.