I live in Baltimore. I know what you’re thinking…The Wire, The Riots, burnt out buildings, murder capital. I’m in the county, not the city, but even then there’s much more to Baltimore than that.
however, is not what readers on this blog associate me with. That’s
because I’m always talking of that tiny guitar shaped island nestled in
the Eastern Caribbean. St. Kitts. I spent the first 24 years of my life
there. It is home. It will always be home. Some of the views I had from
my veranda included lush green mountainsides in the center of the
island, gently sloping to the serene azure Caribbean Sea. Blue skies
across which sailed puffy white clouds, and endless golden sun kissed
the melange of trees waving in the warm sea breeze.
I left my little piece of paradise to pursue an education, because as beautiful as the island is, there were no
Universities on the island at that time. After a brief stint in the US Virgin Islands, I moved to Brooklyn, New York. The contrast couldn’t be more obvious. No mountains, no beach, no cluster of trees (at least where I lived). After 4 years of 3hr commutes underground in a subway, of leaving in the dark and returning in the dark for 4 months of the year, I couldn’t take it another minute. I moved the Charlottesville Virginia to pursue a doctorate.
I was enamored with Charlottesville. It was countryside, with endless trees, beautiful greenery and stunning architecture and lots of history. Most of all, everything I needed was within a one mile radius of my dwelling place; no 3 hour commute (Yeah!). However within two weeks I had seen all there was to see, done all there was to do in Charlottesville (except skiing, snowboarding, white water rafting , hunting and drinking myself to oblivion at the many bars on The Corner, all of which didn’t interest me in the least). I was bored. The good news, it was a great place to focus on my dissertation research and keep fit.
What I love the most about where I live is the parks. I go jogging/walking most morning in the park nearby. Other people walk their dogs and we have inadvertently formed a community. If a person is missing we wonder where that person is. I look around at the trees especially during the fall and spring with the blaze of colors and I am inspired.
So, how did living in all those places affect my writing? It didn’t. In St. Kitts, I found inspiration in the scenery, the people, and the culture. In New York, I found inspiration in people of all cultures and tongues riding the trains daily. In Charlottesville, I found inspiration in the greenery and the outdoors, and in Baltimore I find inspiration in all kinds of things.
Face it, whether you have a mountain vista, a sea view and trees in galore, or a brick wall, most of us write in an enclosed room facing only a computer, surrounded by four walls. So what does location have to do with writing? Not a darned thing.