I’ve been to Key West and visited Hemingway’s home and stood where he wrote some of his novels (A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, among others), where he could peer across the horizon from his second story balcony at lighthouses, beach home roof tops, and the damp ocean fog. His stories were based on his exciting and well-known experiences, but his ability to get them from his memories and down onto paper and into his no-words-wasted, short-sentence prose was likely aided by the place he chose to do it.
Okay. I cannot claim, or possibly even hope, to find the inspiration Hemingway found at his Key West home. But I do know that where I write is important – important in many ways.
Like most aspiring authors, I write not only to someday produce a work that is broadly accepted as good writing, but also because I find comfort in the process. It’s satisfying – even when it’s frustrating – even when the thoughts aren’t flowing or when the reader feedback isn’t all positive. And one of the many reasons it’s satisfying is where I write.
I actually have two places where I spend my time writing. One is a mountain home where I have my desk angled to look out through a wall of windows at a long-range, southwestern view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The view changes with the seasons -- fall the most inspiring.
I also spend time at our Charlotte home, where after I retired about three years ago, I set up my writing cocoon in our den with my desk facing a wooded hillside in our backyard. The location and the views can inspire but also can distract at times, like when a red-tailed hawk perches in a nearby tree, or when a herd of deer come to feast on hillside bushes. I’ll take these distractions any day.
The other key element of my cocoon is a large cup of coffee. It must be hot (or at least warm), so my coffee pot is only a few steps away. I probably have my hands on my coffee mug more than on the keyboard, but without it, my thoughts quickly stagnate.
So, there you have it. This is where I write. As I’ve said before, it’s not a bad gig. I’d be interested in where other aspiring authors spend their time coming up with their plots, characters, and ideas for their next books. Please drop me a note.