My Favorite Places Are....
Not too long ago I was waiting for a flight. Across from me a young woman was reading a book. When she had had enough of the book and closed it, I asked her if she knew the difference between a book and an airport.
She replied that she did not, and I proceeded to explain that while a book usually has a plot and several key characters, an airport has a thousand stories walking by.
That is why airports are among my very favorite places.
I am a writer, and those "thousands of stories walking by" are grist for my mill. For other writers who from time to time mention their experiences with the phenomenon called "writer's block" I suggest a trip to the airport.
I can eavesdrop politely and know what people are talking about that interest them.:world affairs, personal affairs, business, reunions, sadness, indescribable joy.
I can imagine the stories I see walking by: "a mother, impatient with her young children, children impatient with a parent, lovers sitting off by themselves (though they would have been just as oblivious of the crowd, were they sitting among them,) a young woman stretched out on four seats and trying (perhaps successfully) to sleep, while running the risk of missing her flight, the heavy set man munching his way through some unnecessary food, the elderly grandmother in an unattended wheelchair and lost in her memories, the gloved lady collecting a portion of the day's trash while dreaming of next weekend at the seashore building sand castles."
Try some mental note-taking and visual-snapshots when you are next in such a setting as an airport, a crowd just leaving a movie, a too full restaurant, or gazing around a library at readers and staff shuffling the books such as the one the young woman was reading across from me in the airport.
I once wrote an article on religiosity that came from a lifetime of church attendance and some observations made in churches.
Now there is a danger in imagining stories in a church setting, or elsewhere for that matter. It is the danger of judging. Judging is something that my core beliefs caution against doing.
Be that as it may, churches are gathering places in which stories can suggest themselves. Their stories run from babies, to weddings, to thought-provoking homilies, to social gatherings,to funerals. In short, churches offer story ideas from all the stages of life that can arise from a religious setting. Countless books have been written centered on the people who frequent such places and events.
A writer who ignores the potential diversity of thoughts and characters one encounters in churches, is self-limited.
A wooded trail
It isn't only poets, adventurers, hunters, and exercisers, who can enjoy a wooded trail. Writers can, too.
Writing takes thought. Some can sit down and type out columns to meet deadlines, but most of those get thrown away the next day, unless they gave them serious thought.... more than thoughts of their deadline and getting apparently intelligent words into print.
Admittedly most writing takes place with paper, pencil (if the first thought is not just the right one), a typewriter (if you are famous and don't want your work hacked by someone who isn't,) or at a computer screen (if you are still struggling to be famous and hackers don't know about you yet.)
But there are times when, just as a heavily used blackboard needs a thorough erasing....even a washing, a writer's brain needs to refresh after an intensive writing effort, or when in need of a fresh look at where the invented characters are taking the writer in a project still underway.
Then it is time for a walk along a wooded trail, a deserted beach, or through an empty field at a time of day when the path is yours alone with your thoughts.
Then let the thoughts take you where they may; direct them, if you must, but give the mind some release until the freshly cleaned blackboard is ready for the next word, and the next word is ready to be written.
As a writer, you will have your own favorite places. These are some of mine. Try these out a time or two and see what these places have to offer you. Your muse can use some refreshment from time to time. You can choose the place, or places, that work best for you.
© 2015 Demas W.Jasper All rights reserved.
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