Sunday, July 02, 2006

A Room with a View
Last week, I had the chance to go to Fallingwater, one of the homes Frank Lloyd Wright designed here in Western Pennsylvania. It's a lovely place that fits organically into the landscape. I remember the first time I saw the countryside surrounding Fallingwater. I had seen many photos of the home in the past, but it was along the road leading to the house that I saw the large, rectangular boulders jutting out from the hillside and realized that they must have been Wright's inspiration for the design of the house.

We toured the house, which is actually situated over the creek and a small waterfall. Everywhere in the home, Wright designed the rooms to be close to nature, and the views are spectacular. He also created all these fabulous nooks and crannies and writing corners where I could definitely see myself writing lots of books!

And it got me to thinking about the creative process and the environment. Could I write a better book--or have more creative ideas for books--if I lived in a place like Fallingwater? Not very many people have that type of opportunity to be so close to nature, and have the absolute ideal, picturesque setting in which to create. But that's my latest question: does it matter where I write? Would it change the writing itself?

I'm due to read The Right to Write by Julia Cameron, which I re-read every summer. In that book, as in some of her other writings, she emphasizes writing in the midst of life. Many people hope to take that sabbatical to write their great American novel. But most people can't take a year off their lives. So, the key is to write in the midst of all the busy-ness, the activities, the long work days. So, my gut tells me that no, where I write doesn't matter.

But then I look at a place like Fallingwater, and I am just dying to get to my journal, and sit at one of those fabulous desks overlooking the creek. And it's maybe that response--that longing to write--which a closeness to nature helps.


  1. I think where you write could change what you write. A change of scenery allows you to see things from a different point of view that you might not see if you are in the same old rut. A trip to falling water might remind you of the beauty of life, where a trip to the city during rush hour might remind you of the grittier side of life. Each thought that you have during the writing process has the ability to transform your work, and take it down a different path. Environment while not everything, I think would be important. Unless you get so into your work that you don't see what is around you, then the environment would only matter if it was distracting.

  2. Dood AH ;-)9:09 AM

    I've found that sometimes even a very noisy local Starbucks coffee house can lead me to good ideas, which I've never considered while working on some issue or other at home. Simply changing my environment seems to permit my mind to wander, and those often-elusive ideas then come to mind. I'm not a writer, but I have a wide range of interests, and I too love a tranquil setting like Falling Water. It's CHANGE which seems to enable me to be a bit more creative.