Dani Shapiro explains in her writing memoir “Still Writing” that she found it best to move out of New York City so that she didn’t use the distractions of the city to keep from writing.
I think about that here a lot, as kind of a pacifier; if you live in Carlsbad, California and you don’t have a car and are nowhere close to the village, then your distractions are limited to the following:
- The beach (a mile walk away in no shade);
- A cafe (Starbucks only, a mile walk away in no shade);
- Spending money on something I don’t need in a chain store (a mile walk away in no shade).
You’d think I’d be a prolific writer at this point.
Problem is, the only thing priming the pump is any book I can snatch and bring home and the web. Not that those aren’t good sources; I just feel like I’m getting life third-hand with this method. It’s a constant stretch of trying not to panic, and trying not to panic very much alone, as everyone’s solution is, “Why don’t you just get a car?” My thoughts in answer to that question is, “You WANT one more car to log-jam the freeway?” And my out-loud answer is, “I guess to fit in I’ll have to.”
I’ll have to pay for three to five years on a depreciating big-ticket item that I have to feed with high-dollar gas and achieve a top speed of 40 mph to fit in.
Somehow, it isn’t a sell. But walking miles between destinations isn’t much of a sell, either.
But I don’t make the sustaining bucks or have the employer buy-in of the culture that I want to live in (San Francisco or New York City or any other city developing a pedestrian-friendly culture), so here I stay. I’m trying to find a way to guild the lining of it with shiny silver, but sometimes I drift to anger and struggle to dig out of that ditch.
The Shapiro reasoning helps. So I turn back to my notebook and mount my noise-cancelling headphones on my ears (even desolation has noise) and come back to the my stack of notebooks and hope for a tidal change while I try to change my own current.