It’s all about geography…and literary water

The Eiffel tower at sunrise, taken from the Pl...

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 I can’t wipe this silly grin off my face. Usually I hate it when I see somebody grinning for no reason. You know the ones—happy without cause—but I have found that I am guilty of this type of reasonless euphoria this afternoon. I’m content to sit here in my favorite restaurant. . .and WRITE of course. 

Now those of you who follow me while I Twitter or blog or update my status, you know where I am now.  For those of you who don’t follow me while I Twitter, blog or update, shame on you.

I’m at the Panera Bread Restaurant on 56th Street. I’ve tried most of the other places, Starbucks on Capital Avenue, Mo Joe’s Coffeehouse on Michigan Street, The Perk Up on Cornell in Broad Ripple, even been in the Panera’s on 86th Street, but I’m a firm believer in not fixing thing that ain’t broken: this place is the place for this writer…for now.

I started my writing session today by reading a few chapters out of “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg. I started reading her work while I was in Atlanta this fall and have not been able to leave her wisdom alone. WDTB is my bible for inspiration to write. When I read her advice, I always feel a sense of kinship with Ms. Goldberg. We’ve never met, but she is a kindred spirit. She is the one who encourages me to practice writing: practice writing despite having bills that are due, a dog that needs to go to the vet, the neighbor’s music that is too loud, a husband with a lost shoe, a son who needs decorating advice, overflowing in-boxes at work, bosses that demand far more than mortals can supply, etc. (read Write Anyplace, Writing Down The Bones, Goldberg, 1992, Shambhala Press).

Anyway, she has inspired me to reap the benefits of writing in restaurants and other obscure places, such as bowling alleys, laundry mats, while traveling on cross-town buses, slumming in coffee houses, idling in  the drive through line at the neighborhood Wal-Mart pharmacy…you get the idea. She is, as am I, a believer that a change of routine, a change of pace and place can change perspective for the better. In pursuit of perfection as a writer, I have already begun to compile my list of winter haunts to keep the literary juices flowing during the dark hours ahead predicted for this winter: The Eitlejorg, the Indianapolis Zoo, IMA and in February 2011 the new J L Marriott when it opens. I’m excited about this list and intend to continually add to it and check off places.

Of course, you know where I am going, right? The list grows and grows and expands and expands until the dream destinations appear.  In no particular order I want to see London, England, Dublin, Ireland and Paris, France.

I am now especially excited about my trip to Paris. I am hearing rumors that Paris welcomes poets and writers like me, that the restaurants don’t rush customers to clear out and according to Goldberg, a writer can buy a cup of coffee at 8 AM and nurse that cup until 3 or 4 in the afternoon without being disturbed or interrupted. That’s part of the appeal of Panera’s Bread. For example, I’ve been holed up in this corner since 4 PM, reading and writing and now working on this blog entry. No one has so much as giving me a glance, let along asked me to leave. I could conceivably stay here until closing time.

So what is all this geo-rumination, fantasy flying about and imagination wandering leading up to? What’s the big idea? The not-so-trivial pursuit of the poem. The illusive poem that I can’t find now. I’m not able to write poems for now but as I stated in my journal, I’m not worried about this. I know that the poems are there somewhere. I’ve been writing pieces of poems. But I do want the words to flow again like they have before. Thus, I haunt the Starbucks and the coffeehouses and the restaurants, seeking to find a place where I can wade into the word-stream and get baptized in the literary water of words.

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