Blank Studio - Xeros Residence, Phoenix, 2002
A lot of authors talk about finding a place that helped them learn how to write. Usually they describe visiting/moving to a foreign place, and the rush of getting swept up in all the new sensations, but I think that this (^) would be a great place to learn to write stories.
Waking up every morning in the privacy and familiarity of the room, and then choosing at a certain point to pull back the curtain, and literally open up one wall of what had been a closed system, would be… ideal. Sort of a convenient metaphor, a ritual to jog the mind (1). I also think that watching other people doing familiar, daily things in the calm surroundings would help me keep a steady “pace” in a long story, which I have trouble with (2).
However- this is, I think, one of the things that’s been holding me back. I would be comfortable here because the surroundings look familiar to me. That’s why I like it; it’s the new, stimulating idea of that studio, against the backdrop of a place with a climate and structure that I recognize, a car that I’ve seen driving around before, and the same trash and recycle bins that my parents and neighbors line up outside their houses on Monday nights. People whose routines, I imagine, I could learn to predict within days.
I’m never going to get anywhere if I never take any risks. I’m never going to get anywhere if I never get anywhere, if I just spend my life sitting on my couch, on my front lawn, watching the same TV shows over and over (telling myself the same stories, over and over). But here I am.
[1- when I played water polo regularly, the last thing I would imagine most nights before going to sleep was a random game sequence. Three things were always true: I was always the hero (obviously), we always won (I don’t have much of a stomach for tragedy), and, if I was going to be able to sleep, the story was all about movement. I always wondered about the exact process that was going on inside my brain when I reacted on instinct during a game, either firing or misfiring based on random muscle memory. I’ve always wanted to be able to slip into that automatically- to learn which random switch to flip, to make myself sleep, to make myself write, to transport myself into another world.]
[2-I like the idea of opening up that wall and seeing exactly what you were expecting. Instead of just envisioning things in my head, I could look at this area day after day until it was like a blank canvas to me, a huge chunk of space where I could build sets and play God, and make little people to run around in my world.]