It’s been awhile since my last post and that’s mainly because the holidays kind of threw me for a loop. Lots going on, lots of visitors, etc. It’s all good but writing time was limited. With that behind me, I’m full speed ahead. I’m trying to edit and revise a project thoroughly and with reader and agent feedback in mind before sending it out and moving on to my next great idea. 🙂
I don’t know about you but I find it nearly impossible to get much writing done at home. I have to get out of the house and then, suddenly the writing just flows. In fact, I wrote my first draft sitting in the Quiet Room of a local library that had a beautiful a stone fireplace. What a great atmosphere to write a cozy mystery! I’m sure it helped me get some of the atmosphere right.
For some writers, an office or even the neighborhood cafe is where their wellspring of creativity originates. For me, it’s the library. In starting a new year, and thinking about my most effective work habits, I’ve committed myself to a strict library writing schedule and so far it’s working. Since I was a kid, the library has felt like a magical place to me. All those books. And you can read them …for free! It was often my refuge as a child and young adult, where I would pick an author and then read steadily through their works. I’m basically a library nerd.
So as I’ve embarked upon my strict new writing and editing schedule and counting on the feeling of peace and well-being that comes over me when I write at my local library (incidentally a place with high ceilings and lots of natural light), I found myself thinking about the German film, Wings of Desire — and the angels in the library.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, the story involves two angels who haunt the streets of Berlin observing the human experience (and one is deciding if he wants to become human himself). The only people who can see the angels are children. One of the touching things about these angels is that their entire existence is devoted to comforting people. For example, if someone riding the subway is having an existential crisis, an angel comes over to them and puts their hand on the person’s shoulder and suddenly, the person’s thoughts begin to turn more hopeful.
One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when the two “main” angels go to a huge Berlin library and walk among the library patrons. You get a shot of the entire library — and it’s simply filled with angels. (By the way, the angels are distinguished by their long black coats and their slicked-back hair. I know, kind of funny, but this was 1990.) As our two angels wander among the tables and library stacks, they are continually encountering other angels who are sitting near people working at the library, looking kindly on them as they struggle with their studies or maybe, even their novel! I love this shot of an angel leaning over the shoulder of a student as she studies, like an invisible but encouraging teacher.
One of the best parts of this library scene is when one of our angels simply sits back and listens to the “symphony of thought” coming from each of the library patrons. In other words, the library is a haven of peace and creativity for the angels, who often encounter human suffering in all its forms. Not here — this is where they see the positive side of human endeavor.
I like the thought of writing where the angels are, thinking that they may be helping me on my way as I try to create the best work that I can.
What about you? What’s your favorite and most productive place to write?