Monday, August 29, 2011

always two hours ahead: the imprint of place

i don't know about how most people transition during moves, but when i left the east coast mid-summer, i decided i wasn't going to change the clock on my mac to match my new time zone.  why?  not forgetful, but indeed, still creatively and heart-linked to that coast i thought this was one way to keep myself metaphorically tethered to the part of the country i have found most affecting in both my writing and personal life.  and you know what:  it really works.  this little digital glory gives me an instant connection, (and a little pick me up on days when i feel particularly disconnected from that part of the world).

this all begs to question:  how much does place play a role in our writing?  for me, an immense amount.  so much so that when i was applying to graduate schools, chatham university's travel writing program won my attentions, simply because i know how moved i am (always) by place.  and while i inevitably didn't elect to attend that program, i couldn't have asked for a better city to begin to fuel my writing then of course first, nyc, and second boston.

when i was living in the east, i found myself romanticizing and ruminating over the climate and landscape of the west.  i daydreamed about my mountains back home, the way the dry heat felt on summer mornings, and the smell of chile and incense during the fall.  and while i grew up among this landscape, it was another climate that brought all that inspiration into focus.  does long-worn place have to steep before it finds us?  i guess so.  now that i am back, i see much with fresh eyes, but am not driven to write and think about it the way i was when removed.  meanwhile i find the east in all i write.

what places inspire you?  what place has the biggest imprint in your writing (or regular) life?