Our Team Discusses What Outdoor Spaces Helps Spark Their Creativity
From Ralph Waldo Emerson to Barbara Kingsolver, writers have been known to use nature to connect with their creativity and spark their muse. In celebration of spring, we asked our team members to share with us their favorite out-of-door spaces either to write in or to rejuvenate their writing spirit.
PWN instructor Gay Norton Edelman craves “Wild Nature” to soothe her soul and discover her truth. Gay lives in New Jersey but also has a cabin in Upstate New York.
“When I am in big country, walking slow, breathing slow, just letting myself be—looking off into the hills, watching the sunrise through the trees, looking up at the Milky Way—that’s when I feel most myself. And that’s when my best words flow.”
Read more about Gay’s need for natural spaces in her blog “How Wild Nature Feeds My Writing.”
Las Vegas resident Courtney Harler, who is currently teaching Flash Fiction & Memoir and Sub & Pub classes and is the podcast co-host for PWN’s Debut Review, said:
“Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs in Las Vegas is my daily go-to getaway. It’s a city park but rather wild, with old-growth trees (a rarity here in the desert) and all manner of seasonal waterfowl on its four small lakes: geese, ducks, coots, cormorants, and herons. In the grassy and sandy areas, you can spot both roadrunners and coyotes. In good weather, I go to Floyd Lamb to walk, write, and even do other editorial work. I’ve also published work inspired by this natural space in recent years. I find my mind requires a bit of wildness.”
Our Operations & Communication Manager, Elizabeth (Liz) Jannuzzi, a Jersey girl who frequents the Green Mountain State, has been known to just lie down in the woods or a field.
“I love nature. Hard stop. All kinds. The beach, the woods, my suburban backyard. If not exposed to some sort of natural scene, I melt, I wilt, I am not me. Is there one particular spot that sparks more creativity than another? I don’t think so. I can be sitting on my front stoop and watch an ant go by and feel connected to mother nature and feel inspired to write. (I call this photo “Perspectives” because I was lying on the grass in Vermont and saw the underside of a flower against the perfect blue sky.)”
On Saturday, May 21, starting at 9:30 a.m., Liz and Lisa Hartsgrove will lead an in-person Writers Walk through Huber Woods followed by generative writing. Join them!
When asked about what natural spaces inspire her, our West Coast instructor Pamela K. Johnson said:
“The jacaranda trees are in full bloom this time of year here in Southern California, where we get a beautiful canopy of purple overhead. They are an annual favorite.”
Pamela is currently teaching Having Your Say: Op-Ed & Expository Writing.
Céline Keating, who co-leads book inc’s Novel Incubator and is a New York City resident, describes the various locations where she is inspired.
“Above all, watching the movement of water seems to spark my creativity. I walk to a favorite spot to write—sometimes a bench in Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River; sometimes a beach chair on a deserted beach in Montauk, LI; sometimes a rock in the middle of a rushing stream upstate in the Adirondacks. Whether it’s the sounds of lapping and gurgling or the play of light on water, a kind of alchemy occurs, and the writing seems to flow straight from the unconscious to the page.”