Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | August 16, 2017

Visiting my muse again

Last week I had a business trip to New York that took place in the Times Square area. While the business at hand was time consuming and kept me very busy, my mind wanted to be involved with anything else.

My favorite muse settings are crowded metropolitan areas, with transportation terminals and coffee shops a major plus. I don’t know why or how I am influenced this way, perhaps it’s something to do with the vibe of people. Or maybe it’s the physical scenery itself, and seeing new imagery pulls me into it like some extremely detailed painting. I am hit with a strong desire to imagine and dream when I’m in New York. I could walk the city streets and let the people I see influence the characters I’ve yet to write about. Or maybe I have already written about them and the passing scenery is just influencing their continuing journey.

Anyone who knows me knows of my love for Chinatown, in whichever city there is one. New York’s Chinatown is larger than others that I’ve been to and it was the first time I’ve ever had the time to truly explore it. I spent two nights in a row there, eating small dinners so I might be able to visit more restaurants.

I told a coworker of mine that while I enjoy exploring different cuisines and knowing the differences between them, there is always a drive towards authenticity that I think has several meanings. There is the authenticity of a country or culture’s cuisine itself, particularly if the cuisine is dependent on food products that must be imported. That can often become mixed with a much higher priced restaurant which isn’t always necessary to express from an authenticity point of view. When I’m in Chinatown, NY, and I see 3 or 4 older guys hanging around a bunch of dirty boxes in a narrow, cobble-stoned alley slurping away at their containers of soup with noodles, I see the biggest display of authenticity I can imagine.

I guess that’s the sort of authenticity you might expect from a writer exploring their muse. I cannot help but to see the stark difference, and value the realism in the folks living their lives and living, eating, and sharing a meal together.

New York’s Little Italy happens to overlap parts of Chinatown. I realized this by accident and was pleasantly surprised by it. These are two intense culture centers and I loved seeing them right next to one another. Of course, back home in South Philly I see various cultures represented in food and shopping all the time, often on the same street. The next thought is to compare the two or imagine some new characters doing it from their point of view.

My point of view was busy enough. 🙂

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