The Prompt for June 3
If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?
Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.
The only thing easy about today’s (June 3rd’s) challenge is that I knew I didn’t have to include the twist. I’m not a fiction writer and have no desire to be one. I admire people who do it, but with all the things I have on my plate, both required and those of a creative nature, fiction is something I just don’t pursue. So without the twist, things should be easy–just start zooming.
But it wasn’t that easy. I started thinking about places I’ve been that I’d like to return to, like Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Seattle, Hong Kong, Beijing, Kyoto, San Francisco, and Chicago, for starters. Then I thought of the places I’d still like to visit–a long list that includes not just cities, but several countries–France, England, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Portugal, and Sweden, to name just a few. I couldn’t choose just one, and then I realized it wasn’t a spot on a map that draws me, but a spot in my mind–a location that calls to the creative side of me.
I thought about a retreat house that I’ve returned to many times over the years, even though it’s been over 20 years since my last visit. I remember how I could pack for a weekend or a week and reconnect with that creative side. I thought about other places studios, classrooms, friends’ homes, hotel rooms–places that released my creative energy.
It would be nice to create such a space in my own home, but I run into snags whenever I try that. I mean, I can cut fabric and sew in my own space, but many of the other creative activities seem to elude me. I have a few suspicions about why that is, but I’ll save that speculation for now, because I’m still trying to locate my room with a view.
And then it hit me! My room with a view exists in every city in the world. Multiple times. Because for me, all I have to do is pack up things I want to work on and head to a coffee shop. That’s where I am now, in fact. I had been working on this post at home, but was struggling to get it finished. It started morphing into something else–a post for another day. I wanted to get a handle on THIS post, not start a few others. I also needed to grade a few exams–not too many, just enough to make some progress. So the exams and the Netbook got packed into my bag, and here I sit with my iced latte. This particular shop is narrow and long with tables for 2, tables for 4, and one for six. The tables have powder blue scalloped table cloths with glass tops to protect them.
But it’s not the physical things I see that make these coffee shops work for me. It’s the ambiance–that feeling of entering a world where anything is possible. The coffee doesn’t hurt, of course. But for me, it’s getting away from all the distractions that are part of working at home. The coffee shop I visited yesterday, and the one I’m working at tonight are in Taiwan. I’ve spent many hours in coffee shops in nearly every one of those places mentioned in the first paragraph. The picture at the left is one that is halfway around the world from Taiwan. It is probably one of the coffee shops I’ve spent the most cumulative time. I’ve done so much creative work there and spent many great hours with friends. If you’d like to read about some of my Brewtopia adventures, you can find them here.
Coffee shops have a lot of physical details in common, but it’s the unique details that set them apart from one another. For me, I settle into to the environment and relax, rather than focusing on the physical aspects of those rooms with a view. What I love about coffee shops is that they free me from the external view (which is often distracting) and allow me a view into my internal creative workings. Regardless of the surroundings, a coffee shop offers me a room where I can view myself, and the magic is that the view is ever changing.
This is part of the WordPress Writing 101 Blogging Challenge: