Inspiration Installment #2: Location Transportation
My writing is deeply influenced by my environment. The novel I’ve been working on is set in the imagined version of a real place in upstate New York, a steel town where my parents and grandparents–my people–were from. I knew this place in part because my father owned a pharmacy there, one he’d inherited from his parents. But this place looked dramatically different by the time I arrived there, the old neighborhood my parents told fond stories of long since decimated by the slow decline of the steel industry.
These days I’ve been working on some creative nonfiction, much of it reflecting on the landscape of my childhood, but also other places I’ve called “home” over the years. Spain. England. A western city in Romania, where I lived for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. And of course, Florida, which is ripe for creative adventures.
There are two places I often visit for creative rejuvenation. One is Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Another is Ft De Soto, where I take biweekly morning walks with the dog.
The lovely thing about these two places is that each time you visit they’re never the same. If we really pay attention and are curious–what I consider to be an essential characteristic of an artist–you’ll always see how an environment changes day after day, hour after hour. It’s astonishing to me when I visit the beach and see dolphins surface, birds nest, stingrays jump vertically from the water, while the humans around me stare into their phones.
My point? Pocket the phone. Ditch the radio. Spend time in a place–really spend time there. And feel how it enhances your creativity.