(Originally posted at The Mess That Is Me - January 2011)
If you've ever seen even one episode of The Big Bang Theory then you know Sheldon has his spot on the couch. He's measured it between the bathroom and the fridge, positioned it for sunlight and the flow of air conditioning. For him, it was the ideal spot. No one else was ever allowed to sit in it as it was perfectly formed to his posterior. To say he is obsessive about that small cushioned seat is an understatement.
I know how he feels to a degree, but for me it's not the seat, or at least not just the seat. It's the headspace as well.
Several months ago, we moved and I love the new place. Grant it, it's about three rooms smaller but it has a screened-in back porch, a privacy fence and a pool. It's great. It's just different.
You see, like Sheldon in a way, I had my spots picked out where I always sat in order to write. There were basically two. One was on the right end of our black leather couch with this octopus looking lamp looming over me, illuminating the paper and flow of words. The room had a fireplace ensconced in a gray stone wall, just perfect for writing that damsel trapped in a dungeon scene.
The second comfortable spot was my small ten-by-twelve piece of concrete slab on the back of the house. My porch. It was furnished with a nice-sized plastic chair with a high back and a round table with an umbrella to block the sun. Out of one of the bedroom windows I could pop the computer speakers and play any playlist I wanted as everyone knows music and writing go together. Even better was the gentle scenery with squirrels and birds frolicking among the two small oaks. It was great to sit there, let my mind wander in the early mornings and late evenings and allow the ink to flow wherever the creative trail led.
But that was there. We moved and even though I like this porch much better I still have not found that “spot.” It's kind of funny really. I never knew I had this issue until we moved. I've always bragged about how I can write anywhere and truly I can, coffee shops, driving down 95, any Angelina Jolie movie or pushing the cart while the girls shop. That's the main reason I've always written my stories out as opposed to typing them on the computer, so I could write wherever I was no matter the situation. How do you think I survived so many children's plays, repetitive pastors or visiting family? I always had a notebook and pen ready to distract me from the boring events of life.
But at this new house, I'm lost.
The furniture's the same but it's arranged differently. The octopus lamp is on the left end of the black couch and now there's no brace for my arm while I'm writing. It's backwards. The round table's in the yard, the scene has changed and the noise is different. Neither spot felt the same; my whole creative headspace has been thwarted.
I've heard how some writer's use different props or clothing to get them into the writing frame of mind. Some have special mouse slippers, smoking pipes, or lucky underwear the color of ink. I've tried that but the only thing that seems to help me is coffee, strong and black. Otherwise, I'm good to go anywhere, wearing anything or nothing. Although, leopard print boxers might be good for writing an animalistic love scene.
But there are places that I go that seem to have more creative energy than others, even one end of the couch over another. It may sound funny to some, like being abducted by aliens or that white light after death, but these places are connected to me somehow. The more I use them, the more I sit there and allow the stream of words to flow from me to paper, the more creative residue seems to have developed over time. These places get a build up of me, of my sweating over phrases that the girls can't Fabreeze away.
Some have claimed that they feel closer to God depending on their surroundings, whether it's the beach, the forest or a strip club. I understand what they're saying. I feel closer to my muse in certain places. Although, writing in a strip club is distracting.
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Until next time, keep chasing your fantasies!