It's amazing how clear things become, like waking up and realizing you have been asleep.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Walking in Hawthorne's Footsteps

Strolling around Salem with iced coffee in hand and sun on my shoulders, it is not hard to see why this place is so inspiring.  There is the breath of history in the air, you can feel it with every step.  Granted, the year 1692 is the focus of choice because of those horrible witch trials, but this quaint harbor town is rich with so much more.  For example, the telephone was first demonstrated at the Lyceum, and for a time Salem, which was once a bustling and prosperous port, had exclusive trade with India. 

Today, it is run by witches, artists, and lawyers, a combination which keeps its strange spirit alive.  In all this, one must recall the beasts New England has so often bred: writers.

Edgar Allen Poe stalked around in Boston, Emily Dickinson holed herself up in her house in Amherst, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman (among others) scouted about in the woods in Concord (and of course Walden Pond), Robert Frost homesteaded in New Hampshire, J.D. Salinger also hid out in New Hampshire until his death in 2010 (I'm still waiting for his family to discover a wealth of new work and publish it posthumously), and of course, Nathanial Hawthorne lived and worked in Salem. 

I am a writer in a land of writers.  And yet I don't know how to go about being a writer; I don't know where to start (my friend Luke recommends the kitchen).  The simple task of putting pen to paper had never been so distant or so daunting.  What do I write?  For Whom? I must begin somewhere.  Simply, I must begin.  Write anything, even if it's crap, just for the exercise of it.  Then, I will find my one true sentence.

Anyway, it's time to start the day.  Hopefully it will be a good one.

Until next time ...

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  1. My favorite thing about the East Coast is how you can feel the history. There's so much, its all around, so many things happened, I swear you can feel it around you like humidity, or fog. The West has a different feel, like the history is fresh and recent-I met a descendent of Jesse James (the outlaw, not the biker) that remembered hearing stories from his great-grandpa as a kid. But on the East Coast, I saw where George Washington carved his initials in the stone at the Natural Bridge, and that's an equally powerful, yet different, emotion.

  2. I found when I lived in Salem I started to forget that I was surrounded by history. I'd catch myself every so often jogging past the House of Seven Gables and pausing to think... This is my neighborhood. There is history on my jogging route! Such a great town to be a writer.