This audio blog is about writing through the noise pollution. It’s about turning up the volume in your head to drown everything else out. It’s about keeping track of your ideas through an earthquake.
Once you’re finished listening you can read the second part here:
When friends on Twitter post photos of mountain-scapes and forest trails, I get scenery envy. I want to unroll a blanket and write beneath their sky. I want to be able to stand up and pace around with my ideas, to take my thoughts for a walk.
The closest I can get in the coffee shop, is the trip from the stool to the bathroom.
I can’t remember the last time I hiked a grassy plain, or went anywhere that showed no signs of human life. There’s a bird sanctuary not too far from here, but power lines show through the trees and airplanes fly low overhead.
There’s a path that leads to a hidden beach, but it’s littered with condom wrappers and tin foil pipes. The sand is marked by cigarette butts and there are always dueling boom boxes when I get there.
There’s a cemetery on my bus route, a calm oasis at the heart of the city. A herd of deer live there. They drink from the ponds and eat the flowers off of the headstones. There’s a block of mausoleums, some with pillars, some shaped like pyramids. There are statues under glass to help them survive the seasons. It doesn’t have wifi but my phone gets great reception. The only problem with the cemetery is that people need to use it as a cemetery. They don’t want to see me texting, sitting cross-legged, on their loved ones’s graves.
Too bad my apartment is not an ideal writing space. Not when dogs have long drawn out arguments with vacuum cleaners. Not when I hear yelling and I can’t tell if it’s someone having a domestic dispute or if someone scoring a touchdown. Not when my neighbors wait until two in the morning to sing “Happy Birthday.”
There’s an apple orchard near the town where I grew up. The houses along the way look like castles, like settings for Edgar Allen Poe stories. They’re big black buildings, shadows on the overcast. They’re surrounded by hills in every direction. I fantasize about writing from their porch swings, with nothing but the wind as my soundtrack.
When a party bus parks outside my apartment, I close my eyes and go to one of these places. Where things are still and at peace.
I see the Minneapolis sculpture garden. The Spoon Bridge with its giant cherry. The spout spraying from the stem into the pond below. The conservatory with it’s arches made of leaves. The giant gold fish with it’s scales made of glass. It shatters as the shrill voices rise through the floor, as the heals click against the sidewalk.
There’s some great lake front property near my apartment. These manors look like churches with their three-story windows. They have guest houses connected by skyways, great halls that don’t even touch the ground.
Each manor has art deco lawn ornaments, abstract metal sculptures that look like they could transform into robots at the first sign of an intruder.
I take snap shots of their decks, of their hanging gardens and ivy overgrowths. I keep the photos on my phone. They help me to visualize my own writing space. I imagine taking my breakfast out on the deck, drinking my coffee beneath the clouds, putting my feet up on the railing. I imagine typing as the early risers jog on by. I imagine finishing a chapter in time to watch the sun rise. I imagine taking in the scent of the morning air coming off the lake. Then I sigh.
It’s a fantasy in progress.