Monday, May 13, 2013

Inspiration Monday: Ambiance

You know the feeling. You get into a place where there is just enough buzz--conversations, colors, lights, smells, art waiting to happen--that you just can't help yourself. You have to grab a coffee (extra points if you are a latte-drinker and your barista knows how to pour a perfect fern) and a table by the wall, whip out whatever writing implements you have on you (this is where napkins and pens from the register often come in handy), and you create something.

What is it about certain places that make our brains tingle more than others? I wish I knew the secret. It would come in handy, let me tell you.

Lately, I've been in a serious writing funk. It's nothing unusual. On the contrary, it's part of the natural landscape of being a creative person. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it doesn't. 

When it doesn't, it is my job as a "serious writer" (what does that mean???) to be "serious" about it and try to break open my funk and pick apart its shriveled up brains. I cannot let it beat me because it has beaten me before, friends, and it is not fun. 

It Is Not Fun.

I spent a year in a whirlwind of self-hatred, writing endlessly words and words and words, none of which satisfied me. They were fake words. Poser words that I knew good and well would not stick to anything, but I kept writing them anyway because I did not want to admit that I was beaten. 

What I forgot during those dried-up desert days was that writing words is only half the battle. It keeps the train on the tracks all right--you can't get by at ALL without writing the words--but the other half of the battle is being engaged with the words. 

This is the hard part, and the part that costs us something. Being emotionally engaged with a project, and in turn creating a project that will keep readers/consumers emotionally engaged, requires fuel. You have to pay in to get something out. 

Now, I'm not saying that we have to sit there and wait for inspiration to bite us in the rear before we can write anything that is actually worth anything. I've heard that excuse tooooooo many times (yesfrommyownmouthbutwhateverstopjudgingme). What I'm saying is that we need to pay attention to when things start to get hollow and pay something into the account. 

That's where ambiance comes in for me. 

Sometimes, it is as simple as finding a place where there is actual living being done by actual livers* of a life.  

Sometimes it means getting in a place where your brain can perk itself up and think, "Huh. I would never have thought of that on my own." 

It is absolutely about getting in a place where your brain can perk itself up and think. Period. 

For me, an independent coffee house that is a little battered around the edges and where one can find a perfectly poured latte is enough to wake up, as Hercule Poirot would say, "the little gray cells." There is something just writerly about these places, and whether there is something intrinsic in it or not, I am conditioned to know that in this setting my job is to slurp coffee and write things even though I am in the presence of other people (normally my kryptonite). Of course, it helps that most of these other people are also too caught up in slurping coffee to pay a single drop of attention to me. 
 This is the closest I can be to being a fly on the wall, and that is always a sure-fire way to get the creative juices flowing. 

Figure out what it takes for you to get your mind set for your own creative endeavors. Is it the lighting? The chair? The tools? The company? 

Maybe the beverage...

Set the stage and make some art!

*liver=person who lives, not disgusting meat-stuff that some people insist is food even though it is emphatically Not Food.

1 comment:

laurali102680 said...

I agree. Livers are organs and are not meant to be ingested.

And I agree with your post too. Coffeehouses and art of all kinds go hand in hand. Well said. And now I'm inspired.