Writing in a Wasteland

Riches from the sea

Here, in the Pacific Northwest, we suffer from an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ways to prime the creative pump: great indie bookstores that bring in interesting authors; Seattle Arts and Lecture series; art museums; monthly SCBWI meetings; writers conferences; retreats; the list could go on and on.

But what would I do if I lived someplace where there weren’t all of these ways to recharge, creatively? What would I do if I lived, say, in Washtucna, Washington which is at least 90 minutes from the nearest bookstore? What if I lived in Vida, Montana, and nary a museum or university in sight? What would I do then?

I might tune in more often to Ted which features great lectures by all kinds of artists, scientists, thinkers, writers, etc. (even though I wasn’t a fan of Eat, Love, Pray, I especially enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s lecture on genius). And my copy of The Principles Of Uncertainty, by Maira Kalman, would become even more dog-eared — that book is plum full of surprises, flights of fancy and story-idea diving boards.

Other than that, I’m stumped. Can you help? Maybe you, too, have lived in a community that was isolated or had limited opportunities for sustaining the creative life. What did you do to stay nourished?

Inquiring minds want to know.