I wrote a blog post a few years back about visiting our muse and was thinking of how I do it nowadays. https://authorchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/visiting-our-muse/
I work very close to Chinatown in Philadelphia, and the setting in my book also features a similar neighborhood though in my book I consider it larger, 😉 My personal affection for Chinatown, the stores and the people carries over into my characters. So it’s safe to say that when I walk through Chinatown during my lunch break my muse is activated. It’s like my characters wake up and start telling me their stories all over again.
I had always regarded walking through Chinatown to be a therapeutic activity for me, though I never knew the reasons why. If I was having a bad day I could also count on feeling refreshed after visiting the various Asian stores and restaurants. When I got into writing, my early drafts always included some characters and/or scenes from Chinatown. The attraction I have for the neighborhood became something to observe for more attention.
When I visited San Francisco last year for the first time, I was enamored with Chinatown and couldn’t spend enough time in it. I remember one little side street roughly in the middle of the square section of town that marks their main streets that you wouldn’t know was there if you weren’t exploring every street. There were some restaurants, some places of worship, and a music store that I didn’t want to leave. I felt very strongly that my book had this street in it. I sat down on the curb and just soaked it all in, watching the buildings, seeing my characters walk in and out of stores, shops and residences above the stores.
Later I found that the street I left my heart on – Tony Bennett was right 😀 – is called Waverly Place and has a temple (Tin How) that may be the oldest Chinese Temple in the United States. It’s comforting to know that my muse is drawn to such a place.
I’m sure that my attraction to Asian neighborhoods and thoroughfares go beyond writing, but when I want to turn on the muse I go there.
Where do you go to turn on your muse, or just to get away from it all?