Recently, I watched A Midnight in Paris staring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Many people may like the film, but I suspect it has a particularly special allure to writers or artisans. The reason is plain. It is a shuttle of nostalgia, back to a time when a modern awakening occurred in literature and painting alike. Picasso, Dali, Eliot, Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald; you name a famous writer/painter who lived during what is referred to as “Jazz Age Paris“, and you would probably find them there (and in the film) at some point or another. It was the place all artists went to ply their trade and were electrified by the presence of each other and the midnight stroll or conversation in such an inspiring place.
As a writer or artist, do you have a place such as this? We all have writers we look up to or back on. I am sure visiting the places they lived or a lecture by one of them would set us off on such a furiously scribbling fit, that our novels would be finished in mere days. The people I look up to or back toward in my writing nostalgia are The Inklings of Oxford. If I were to meet them, as Owen Wilson did, I may very well have to dig myself a hobbit hole or go on a long stroll in mid January that lasts for scores of kilometers. Or, hope that one day, on the coat tales of that elusive ‘White Whale’ advance, I may one day visit Oxford and The Kilns, especially.
Since, I cannot transport back in time as Wilson did and hand Gertrude Stein my novel to ask her what she thinks or ask father time to turn the dial back several decades to have a chat with Lewis and the gang at the Bird and the Baby, there are other ways you and I must strike onward to create an atmosphere where we are inspired. Perhaps by meeting with fellow writers, discovering new writing blogs and commenting on the posts, attending lectures or classes on the craft, discussing novels with friends and coworkers, or hanging out in beautiful but dusty second hand book shops. In other words, do anything and everything to convince yourself you are apart of this world. A place where only good and worth while stories reside, in other words, your very own Moveable Feast.