San Francisco has a reputation for being a writer’s city, as the home of the Beat Generation and many more writers now and over the years. Before traveling there this past week, I read A Writer’s Guide to San Francisco to get some ideas about where I should go/ what I should see. My home café was near where I was staying on Haight. A wonderful little café called The Bluefront. Free wireless. Lots of outlets. Super good hummus and dolmas. Free coffee refills. You see why I liked it there?
I also made it over to City Lights Books over in North Beach and sat in the Lady Psychiatrists Booth drinking beer and working on my novel at the famous Vessuvio’s Café (right next to Jack Kerouac Alley). I took a long walk to the beach one day and spent a lot of time exploring Golden Gate Park, breathing in the scent of Eucalyptus trees. I caught a yoga class at Yoga Tree and saw the Andy Warhol exhibit at the DeYoung. I went to a concert at The Great American Music Hall.
I spent my entire spring break in San Francisco. Though I primarily went there to see a friend, I did have a lot of time to kick around by myself, writing and exploring the city. Not everyone has the advantage teachers do of regularly scheduled breaks from the daily grind. Lucky me! ☺
Though the unique sites and sounds of San Francisco did inspire me to write more and take more risks, I could see how the same could be true of any unfamiliar place. I could see how it’s not so much about where you go, but that you go. To the beach for the weekend. On a hike. On a photo walk around town. I recently heard this process called “filling your artistic well”, and this made sense to me. It seems to me that as a writer it’s wonderful to get out of town whenever possible, but it’s also good to fill our every day lives with adventures that will force us into unfamiliar territory and that we journey their with our hearts and minds open to the possibility of inspiration. What will you do this week to open yourself to the inspiration that is waiting for you? What will you do today?