Because I’m an artist, like most of you, and because I rely so much on inspiration, like most of you, breaking routine has always been aï¿½big part of my life.ï¿½ Sure, I paint with words instead of with a brush, but it comes from the same place, and is alternately driven or thwarted by similar circumstances.ï¿½ The fact that I happen to own a gallery, and work with so many artists, never changes my own particular drive as a writer, and my need to maintain a certain edge.ï¿½
While I’ve always found middle-class life good for raising kids, it bores the heck out of me as an artist.ï¿½ Sure I value the safety of that life, andï¿½its relativeï¿½sanity compared toï¿½lifestyles less privileged, butï¿½man the routine of it can drive me crazy.ï¿½ So what do I do?ï¿½ I break the routine, constantly.
I love certain haunts Downtown, on the East Side, West Side, or in the depths of Kansas City, Kansas.ï¿½ Iï¿½sometimes like the rough areas better than the hip ones, especially old neighborhoods that speak to me, although I don’t always know why they do.ï¿½ While I’m in those places, I dig meeting people there whose lives are so different from my own.ï¿½ Betterï¿½yet, if they’re teenage artists, I dig giving them opportunity that they may not get otherwise: an internship, a field trip to someplaceï¿½exciting, an opportunity for their first real show.ï¿½ï¿½
When I’m in other cities, I dig the out-of-the-way even more:ï¿½East LA,ï¿½Brooklyn,ï¿½ South Chicago, or Oakland.ï¿½ Theï¿½trendy placesï¿½are nice, but when I’m looking toï¿½get jolted as I rewrite a book, orï¿½start on a new one, few places do this for me like the old part of a city, or aï¿½deserted place in the country.ï¿½ One thing’s for sure: I never get that from staying home, watching TV, and getting sucked into aï¿½lifestyle that is certain toï¿½kill inspiration,ï¿½passion,ï¿½and originality.
And when I grow bored of Missouri, I’m always up for a road trip: Arkansas, New Mexico, Mississippi.ï¿½ These don’t have to be expensive trips, theyï¿½just have to be fantastic journeys of discovery, especially with someone you love.ï¿½ When I lived in Hartford, I constantly did the same by blasting off to NY, DC, or just the White Mountains.ï¿½ Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve always made a point of discoveringï¿½all I could in each region, even ifï¿½I could only do it on a dime.
Equally, though I’m nearly 50, I still get juiced by physical challenge: white-water rafting, grueling bike trips through the desert, long hikes at high altitude, orï¿½inline skating for milesï¿½(hopefully without mishap).ï¿½
For the past week, while I’ve been on vacation in Colorado and Utah, I jumped into many of these things with my family.ï¿½ Not only did I love sharing this with them, but I loved just as much how it sparked my writing.ï¿½ Because I’m putting finishing touches on whatï¿½seems a promising a screenplay, that has meant a great deal.ï¿½
My point?ï¿½ No matter what your calling, I find it’s always wise to avoid a lifestyle that bores you.ï¿½ï¿½Each of us finds excitement in different things–a good book, a new love, an old haunt.ï¿½ You’ll know those things for yourself.ï¿½ Just please bear in mind thatï¿½if you’re feeling uninspired, or that your work has ceased to sing, you may well be suffering from the malaise of perpetual routine.ï¿½ If so, you might try breaking it in some bold and unexpected way.ï¿½ When done withï¿½relative sanity (or insanity, if you prefer), the results can be fantastic.ï¿½ At least they always have been for me.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½