Monday, February 13, 2017

A Place to Write...

Of which there are some around here but not a lot of them fit my agenda!

What I need:

No cable news blaring.
Lake Ouachita
High energy people doing their own thing
An out-of-the-way table/booth
Good lighting
Availability of drink refills
Food (optional)
Parking without a time limit
Plug-in for Penelope (optional--have mini-charger)
Clean ladies room (and I do mean LADIES--not those who think they are that day!)
Safety--having to look over my shoulder isn’t fun.

Places I’ve Written:

Writing with "Al" at the Ohio Club
Fast-food eating establishments
Coffee shops
State parks
Local Parks
Poolside at hotels
The Writers Colony
Patios at hotels
Cubicle in public library
In car at Sonic (of course!)
In airports and on planes

Inside/outside at home   

Lake Catherine State Park
Denton Digs
The Writers Colony - Eureka Springs        

Pros and Cons

At coffee shops and fast food places, people tend to hang around with their phones-, tablets, and laptops. I don’t feel management is wanting me to move along.
Parks are good if the weather is nice--but a shady table is sometimes difficult to stake claim to--and you have to be aware of who’s strolling by. Isolated spots aren’t a good idea these days.
Hotel pool areas/patios are a nice break from your room. You want to sit far enough away from the pool so the lappy doesn’t get showered, but looking up to think and watching kids playing is relaxing. (Adults acting like kids not so much.)
A library cubicle is good for editing and/or reading galleys when you don’t need to be distracted, but it’s not the place to feel creative.
Longer layovers at airports and longer flights make for an hour or two of good writing time. However, airports are best for people-watching. Who knows when you’ll meet your next novel character?
There’s no place like home on cold winter days and also any season’s raining-cats-and-dogs days. If I need to access the internet, I work at home--not convinced public Wi-Fi is a safe bet.

My All-Time Favorite--300 Miles Away!

I usually visit Denton, Texas, at least once a year. Fours years as a student at Texas Woman’s University and good memories draw me back. The downtown square has reinvented itself despite the expansion of shopping centers and malls. Two universities (TWU and The University of North Texas) provide the high energy environment I find motivational.
When I went back for a longer stay several years ago, it was my intention to write the Square one coffee shop at a time. I’d researched all of them. But then, on my first day, I walked into Jupiter House  and never looked back.  

I can’t explain how or why it hooked me. Maybe it’s the lack of a blaring television. Maybe it’s the people of all ages and walks of life constantly coming and going, filling the single somewhat cavernous area with a certain electricity. The walls have been stripped down to the outer brick of the building and are lined with local art.  Low tables, high tables, sofas, and chairs provide a choice of seating, but I always set up shop at the same soda-fountain height table toward the back where I have a view of the entire place and the street outside.
A nice touch is being remembered from year to year. “You’ve been here before. You’re a writer.” Lovely!
I’m totally spoiled--nothing measures up to Jupiter House--but it’s 300 miles away.
I search this area in vain and make do with two or three places…but my heart turns to Jupiter House…and I know I’ll return.

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