Originally uploaded by phitar.
Probably like many of you out there, I've been searching for it for years. The perfectly verdant landscape or unsullied ocean view that will make my heart swell with inspiration, the mythical country -- or maybe just a town or a mysteriously shadowed street that offers the perfect balance of quiet and stimulation. If I could only find the right place to set up my computer, or just pull out those ancient artifacts known as pen and paper, all the words that have accumulated inside me, all the visions, the emotion, the stinging insights, would come pouring forth almost effortlessly. At least, that's how the theory goes.
To that end, I once considered moving back to the mother country, where undoubtedly the writerly impulse slipped into my genes as stealthily as my melancholic temperament or my fondness for black beer. Yes, I could go back to Ireland, the country my malnourished ancestors fled, rent a little cottage in the countryside, drink Guiness and wait for the golden river of prose to start flowing.
Then there was what my husband refers to as my "Montana phase". After reading about a writer who claimed that there was something about the big sky that set his words free, I became a woman obsessed. Not only did I read my way through every Montana novel ever written, I collected an impressive collection of travel brochures as well. Eventually, however, my local travel agent realized she was dealing with a professional daydreamer, and stopped taking my calls.
And don't think the news that a new literary community, similar to the one that nurtured Hemingway and Fitzgerald, not to mention Henry Miller and Anais Nin, was forming in Prague a few years ago passed me by. I even checked some foreign language
tapes out of the library. By day, I listened to them in the background as I struggled to write in my clearly uninspiring environment; and over dinner, I tried out a few of the exotic words I'd absorbed by osmosis on my long suffering family. After three months of "study," all I had to show for it was a huge fine at the library, and the ability to say, "Sorry, I don't speak Czech" with a very impressive accent. The day the librarian informed me that I had to either pay my fine or be shut off from my book supply, was the day the Prague phase ended.
Of course, I'm more mature now.When it comes to getting words on paper, I know that the answer to my resistance lies within myself. From experience, I've learned that the best place to write, like the best place to fall in love, or to pray, or to make a friend, is right where you are. Right now.