A past writing assignment comes back to haunt me

Posted: October 25, 2010 in Uncategorized
OHSU tram car

Can I write inside the Tram?

I’ve had a bit of a dilemma recently. I feel this urge to be around writers. This is coupled by another urge to get out of the house to do my writing.

So I started exploring public places to write. I’m not a coffee shop writer by choice because I . . . well, I don’t drink coffee. But during the last week I scoped out Barnes and Noble at Lloyd Center—yes there are people with netbooks but I don’t think they are writers. I also did internet searches and came up with half a dozen coffee shops in Portland that are frequented by writers.

But most of these places are occupied by younger people. I’ve shied away from them after being interviewed for a critique group by some writers in their thirties in Laurelwood in NW Portland. I had an uneasy feeling about the interview and sure enough I got an email rejecting me, but giving me a the name of another woman they interviewed. The email from the recently published author in the group, said I might want to contact her as she was about the same age. Ouch!

I checked out a couple of Meet Up groups– social groups that stage meetings in Portland via the Internet– but they are mostly younger, mostly inexperienced, and largely unreliable when it comes to attendance.

Then I had an AHA moment. My Current book is set in Portland and so far has featured a murder in Pioneer Square, my hero being tased in an upscale West Hills neighborhood, The Justice Center downtown, searching a room in the Benson Hotel, and a future scene will involve Max Star jumping on the roof of the aerial tram at OHSU and riding it down. Yes, I definitely need to scout out that location to see how I can make it work.

It occurred to me that if I want to get out and write with some sun or new ambiance, I should go to the locations in my book and write there. In an old writing assignment, my class was asked to go to a public place we had never been before and describe it. The idea was to drink it in with all my senses.

That assignment resulted in a chapter involving my hero saving the heroine after she had been shot by a Chinese crime lord in front of two giant statues of Buddha inside the Kwan Yin Buddhist temple in Northeast Portland. Smells included incense, sound was a sounding bell rang upon entering and bullet bouncing off a giant gong, visuals included bright red silk curtains, a various trappings of the ritualistic place of worship. The best image: a Buddha standing on top of a beaver outside the Temple. The beaver was modernistic in style–almost cartoonish–and reminds me of the current logo of the Oregon State Beavers. Sadly, it has been replaced and is only recorded as an image in “The Big Bluff,” as yet unpublished.

My AHA moment involves me going to these locations in my book and writing there. It would produce multiple results. It would get me out of the house and into various locations. It would inspire me to write– a new adventure each day. It would also help me be more descriptive in my prose. It might even help me be with other writers because at least two of my locations would include coffee shop type atmospheres.

I sealed the deal last week by sending away for a new battery for my laptop that will last for at least five hours.

I will update these experiences on my blog as I venture out to various locations. My only problem is how to choose which one I will attend first. I think I will schedule them out on my calendar a week in advance.

Look out Portland here I come.


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