There is a saying in business. Location. Location. Location. The choice matters for restaurants and retail. In Peoria, IL (most know it as the Center of the Known Universe), there is an oft-abandoned spot near War Memorial Drive where restaurants open only to die months later. Prime example, folks normally flock in droves to the Pizza Ranch. Nothing says America like Pizza and Fried Chicken. Yet, the hot spot only does about half the volume of the same chain restaurant up the road. Here, the parking lot is sparse. Hard to say why; people just don’t make the left turn off the highway.
For work, travel, and businesses of all types, location has meaning. Your profession doesn’t matter.
Stephen King recently released a short comic on his writing desk. The topic “where writers work” has always peaked my interest. What’s on the desk? Does it have stacks of paper piled high? Or, is it a clean slate? Desktop computer? Laptop? Old typewriter? Pen and paper? For the greats, I often wonder if their hand cramps writing it all out longhand. In writing, you want to grasp a single grain of pixie dust, chant a witch’s spell, and hope for the best. Questions come to mind:
How do the greats get in the zone?
What do they eat for breakfast in the morning?
What time of day do they do their best writing?
So many questions. Yet, so few answers. After browsing the book Rituals, routines vary with little consistency. As much as I’d like to say follow these five magic steps for creating the next great work, the blueprint doesn’t exist.
Analyzing my own habits, I read a few worn and battered journals. Where did I do my best work? For me, I like to move around—write mobile. It’s more of a necessity. You have to stop and take the time when life decides to give you a moment of inspiration. The heavens part. Time appears. 1-2-3, quick, write. Often, before inspiration wilts, I’ll note my location if I’m somewhere spectacular.
Over eight long years working on Jason’s journey, I jotted down a few spots where pen hit paper. A few found their way inside the pages of the book. I marvel at how location bleeds into one’s work. Even if you don’t write, well, these spots aren’t half bad. These were great spots. Visit. You won’t regret the trip.
Rome. It’s been too long. I stayed in a spot overlooking the Spanish steps. There is a coffee shop at the corner, near the bottom of the steps, where the barista drew the best espresso. Smooth. The acidity perfect. A famous author once said, “If I knew the exact moment of Armageddon, I would want to watch it from here.” I’d tell you the place but no reason to spoil the adventure. Besides, perfect coffee is easy to find if you listen to the universe. To honor the creators of Roman Concrete, there is a series of caves Jason and team find mid-way through the novel. A monster lurks. Yes, the catacombs were the inspiration.
Paris. Hemingway walked these streets. Many have followed in his footsteps. Why not? There are more than a few epic coffee shops here (it’s a theme, I’m writing this post in a coffee shop). After climbing the steps of the Arc de Triomphe, I considered the view. No, Paris isn’t in Knights of Legend, but I took great care to describe the baseball fields in the book. The Insa Knights’ stone baseball palace stands atop the hillside. I hope I gave the view justice.
China. Before the days of internet espionage, I worked for a computer giant not particularly worried about cyber security-just a simple VPN to connect to the corporate infrastructure. Don’t fault them. The year, 2006. A different age. To think, we tie Hillary Clinton and prison together as it relates to her handling of an email server. But, if we wore our 2006 glasses would we think the same way? Optics and politics. Only fools judge the past. Leaders study and learn. Still, I cherished my time in China and wrote often in Beijing and Shanghai. Another view … another baseball park inspiration.
There were a few more spots that didn’t get shout-outs in the final version of the book, there’s always a sequel. Still, they were fun places to write or take a walk:
SanDiego. I’m more of a Coronado Island fan. I wrote on the beach, The Hotel Del is nearby. For some reason, I see Jason living out his life on a beach, or maybe just falling asleep watching the sunset. He deserves to live a good life. And if you roll into town early enough before the narrow road comes to life, try to grab breakfast at Clayton’s Coffee Shop. You never know who you might run into.
Choose a winery in Sonoma. No reason to elaborate here.
Yellowstone National Park. You can hike for hours. Off the beaten path, find a spot to write a passage or two.
Michigan Beaches. Sleeping Bear Dunes. Arguably, the sand dunes are the best beach in America … for two months a year. If you travel toward Petoskey, you can sit at the bar where Hemingway wrote some of his best work. The bar stool is the same. Paris. Michigan. The Hemingway connection.
Where did the story of the Media Knights begin? Well, I wrote Chapter One where Jason jumps the fence to join his teammates as the sun set on my patio overlooking the local soccer fields. I remember the mosquitoes feasting on me. The view reminded me of wars on the diamond. I’m convinced soccer may rule the world one day. I suppose it does already. Hey, kicking a ball around can be fun. Thanks for reading.