The Writing Muse finds me in the most unlikely of places - laundromats, showers, commuter trains and even the occasional coffee shop. But, by and large, she chooses to alight upon my shoulder in public libraries. This makes perfect sense, since a library, after all, is the Writing Muse’s turf…I mean, libraries are all about writing, right? (Well, they used to be although now the Muse of the Video CD has taken up residence here too...)
Here, amongst the stacks, she speaks to me in dulcet tones. Her subtle but insistent impulses urge me to put aside the ‘real work’ I am doing and write those words that she speaks. There is no time to waste when she taps me on the shoulder! The words come pouring forth, like Kerouac’s frothy stream of consciousness…they ripple across my computer screen and don’t stop until she sighs, looks away and leaves me there to edit and clean up the lovely mess in front of me.
So what is it about the public library that makes it my ideal writing retreat? Silence. Solitude. And Books. The combination of these three elements makes me almost giddy. The Muse agrees with me. We, together, revel in the sweetness of the musty shelves, the terrible lighting (all libraries seem to suffer from a dimness or over-brightness malady) and the enforced silence with nary a cell phone in sight. It is our mutual break from the incessant chatter of modern life; the babble of the everyday world. Here, in the public realm of bibliophilia, the words come tumbling out. And the sentences fit together, like lovers spooning, into paragraphs of delight.
The library, so close to my abode, allows me to tap into its tranquilizing power at a moment’s whim. I escape here, unheeded, into the bookish, meditative world around the corner and wait for my Muse to come calling.