I have many writing spots, in my apartment, from the desk to the couch to the kitchen table, and writing spots in other places scattered around the city and back in America’s Dairyland, too. But I also have an inspiration spot, one for daydreaming and brainstorming and problem-solving, both for writing problems and sometimes IRL problems.
I wasn’t until I started cultivating my inspiration spot that I realized how important a place–or mental space–that is for writers, too. As important as an ergonomic desk chair.
Anyway, my inspiration spot in a makeshift windowseat. From it I get a nice, sunny view of the sidewalk below my apartment. It makes for good people-watching, as they walk to and from the park or in and out of the candy-and-lotto bodega.
In one of the little walkup buildings on my street lives a nice young family. Their daughter looks like she’s about ten or eleven. Her mom or dad sits on the stoop as she and her puppy play on the sidewalk out front. A lot of times she plays with a simple bubble wand. She twirls around the sidewalk, spinning and marveling at the bubbles floating up into the trees. Her parents join in. It’s really charming. I kind of adore Bubble Girl. (Hopefully it doesn’t sound creepy that I watch her play.)
I write books for young readers, but I don’t have kids. Which is fine, because as that quote from legendary children’s book editor Ursula Nordstrom goes,”I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.” But sometimes it’s good to let kids remind me, a little more immediately, of being at the age at which bubbles were all I needed to have a happy afternoon. I smile and watch Bubble Girl play, and I wonder what she’d want to read about. I remind myself that it’s actually her I’m writing for. I’d like to write a book that will make her smile or think or laugh.
Generally, I don’t like to give directives, because really how do I know what anyone else needs to get his or her writing groove on. But I do think it’s helpful for most writers to have a reminder of your ideal reader. Bubble Girl is mine.
And I hope I do right by her.