So, when I’m ready to sit down and write for a short while, and particularly after I’ve been working on the current novel project for a bit, I’m increasingly turning to alternative venues. The local branch of the public library is almost always my first choice. It’s close and quiet, and there’s just something about sitting among all those rows of bookshelves that almost always succeeds in kick-starting my writing motor.
And then, there are those places you visit which end up inspiring your writing. Parks, museums, art galleries, historical sites, ball parks and famous or unusual buildings have all fed the muse at one time or another. For me, such a place is Union Station here in Kansas City. Celebrating its 100th birthday later this year, the station had largely been closed for many years due to deterioration and dwindling train passenger traffic. After a massive restoration and renovation effort, it reopened in 1999 as both a train station and an entertainment destination, with restaurants, shops, a movie theater, a youth-focused science museum, and spaces for traveling museum exhibits.
I fell in the love with the station the first time I set foot inside it. Along with our Liberty Memorial and World War I Museum which sits just across the street, it’s long been my favorite city location to visit, and I always encourage friends visiting for the first time to check out both landmarks. You’re welcome for the plug, Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association. As for the station itself, it has many areas where visitors can sit and watch the world go by, including a great open café right in the middle of its vast “Grand Hall.” I’ve availed myself of that cozy little eatery on numerous occasions, enjoying my lunch while writing or editing a manuscript.
Once, just to see if I could do it because I had decided to write a story for submission to a local magazine, I sat myself at a table with the “task” of writing from scratch a story set there at the station. A few hours, one lunch and several glasses of tea later, I had a near-complete first draft of what ended up becoming "Absent Friends," which I eventually sold to that magazine. Since then, the station has continued to serve as a place where I can go and immerse myself in my writing.
So, when you’re looking to escape from home so that you can write for a bit in relative peace, or because you're hunting for inspiration, where do you go?