If I have enough days of not getting to my own writing, I’m prone to dangerous thinking,
and lately I’ve been lusting for a certain type of groovy, hippie writing feeling. And like many forms of lust, this one is built on a fantasy and is merely an escape from the real work of a relationship, in this case my relationship with the keyboard.
So my Walter Mitty thinking looks something like this: If only I could be in a certain hippie place under certain groovy conditions, I would once again get that groovy, hippie writing feeling and fill pages with authentic and simmering prose.
The thing is I have had these Super Writing Days a few times and unfortunately these certain places and conditions do seem to have inspired them, which leads me to this fantasy that if I could just return to one of those places I would have another Super Writing Day.
My Super Writing Days have come reliably in rural settings where urban hippie types have transported themselves with good coffee and a certain urban sensibility for art and music in tow. On more than one occasion I’ve had Super Writing Days at The Teahouse on Canyon Road in Santa Fe–yes, that’s right, just a mere fortnight’s travel from my Seattle home. Okay, not quite, but far enough that getting there anytime soon is out of the question.
Let me tell you about my days at The Teahouse, and I’m sure you’ll see why lust is in my heart. The Teahouse is nestled (really, nestled. People say “nestled” when they mean “near” but this really is a case of big N Nestled) into the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains up a long, sometimes dusty road of art galleries. The Teahouse is an old adobe house of several rooms of cool white walls and pristine hardwood floors. Outside The Teahouse, it is perpetually 80 degrees and inside it is perpetually 70 degrees with subtle crossbreeze flowing between the two screen doors. Although I would not normally listen to Bob Marley, in there it seems right and it is perpetually playing (or alternating with the more tender pieces of Miles Davis) at a volume that makes you forget it is playing. You are merely being quietly indoctrinated into a world where getting to the beach is the tallest order of the day. Or maybe, just working on that involving but not overly taxing writing project. Sandalled and slightly reverential but not fawning androgynous waiters bring coffee and then later a lunch menu. They do not care that you will seemingly be staying for the rest of time at Table 12. They believe in you and your work and do not resent that they are not working on their one-man shows or large abstract canvasses at this moment. Is there Wi-fi? you ask. Yes, there is, but that’s of little consequence to you now as you fill page after page. You have your hippie writing groove on now…and you’re already planning how you’ll be back here tomorrow.
The longer I go without a good writing day, the more susceptible I am to The Teahouse Fantasy. If only I could get to The Teahouse or another similarly groovy location, then I would write effortlessly, the delusional thinking goes. But let’s say I did go there and I did have those Super Writing Days, I would still come home again. Home of orthodontist appointments (so many appointments) and teens texting about forgotten lunches and rides needed. Home of my cluttered desk and long to-do list. And home–no matter what might happen on fantasy junkets–is where most of a book must be written. And so here I am at home, showing up to slow thoughts and false starts. But after enough slow thoughts and false thoughts, the pace will quicken, it always does. And then it won’t matter where I am.