Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Where do You Write?


Where do you set yourself when you begin to write? Do you have several fave spots or one particular corner that beckons your muse?

Natalie Goldberg in "Writing Down the Bones," as well as other writers of inspirational writing books, suggests going to public places like libraries, cafes, diners, the park. They claim the noise and chaos of such places helps to dispel the inner critic so you can get down into that deep place in your soul where poems, stories, and personal reminiscences begin. I've tried it with minimal success.

I have strolled quiet arboretums and grasped a few poems that flitted through the air, inspired by a rippled river, a particular dahlia blossom or the erratic walk of a heron poking in the mud for a midday snack.

I have forced myself to write in the cafe at Barnes and Noble when I had a plot snag to work out. And a few poems emerged there while being nosy and spying on other people enjoying coffee, tea and perhaps a scone. But in bookstores I am too distracted by all those books. I can wander the fiction shelves, check out new memoirs, find how-to books and new age volumes or get lost for hours in the poetry aisle. Other times I am drawn to magazines, both on art and writing, that lure me away from my notebook with their pretty pages and sage advice and instruction.

So while others like chaos and noise, I prefer solitude and silence. It is within the soft cloak of silence that my muse emerges and focus centers me enough to go deeper. While Goldberg advises against making your writing space too perfect and attractive, stating that the time spent in planning, shopping and decorating could be better spent writing, I prefer to make my writing room a calm and welcome place.

Although I share the space with my artist husband and I use the space not only for writing but for art and scrapbooking as well, I did paint the walls a calming sage green, I made sure my writing desk with its wonderful little cubbies was in a good spot. I hung some art dolls on the walls for inspiration and placed my CD player with a flowered box of CDs on a book shelf. Soft meditation music or solo piano offer a nice background to writing as long as they are only instrumentals. That calm music helps me go deep down where my poems live inside my soul. A lit vanilla candle on the desk also seems to taunt my muse into coming out of her hidey hole.

I must add that the perfect writing place seems to be the apartment in Amagansett that my writing group rents twice a year is beyond perfection. It has everything we need and we have no obligations for three and a half days but to write! It is steps away from the beach where we can stroll to get some sunshine, fresh air and a bit of inspiration. And the best part is the collective writing energy that builds when you sit among other writers doing nothing else but writing! It's a gem that doesn't happen nearly often enough.

And that's where I write.

Where do you write?