“This is perfect,” I thought to myself, “I’m in a beautiful house surrounded by gorgeous nature, clearly this is an occasion to begin writing a masterpiece — a profound, career-defining work born of an isolated, personal connection with the natural world.” How could I not think that way? So many incredible works are written in solitary communion with the nature and oneself.
But what pressure, right? I mean, for fuck’s sake. What a goddamned aspiration, what a sight to set. So, by virtue of being near nature, I’m supposed to simply begin writing something profound? I mean, I guess it worked for Thoreau — surely it could work for me.
Trouble is: Henry David had nothing to distract him, and quite literally no comforts to speak of. He built his own fucking house and lived in the damned thing.
But what am I doing?
A valid question.
I’ve gone away for an extended weekend with friends to a rented mansion in rural Massachusetts. While Thoreau was left to his own devices to build himself a place to live, I’ve arrived at a lavish mansion primed for leisure.
And still, I brought my laptop with the explicit purpose of doing some writing. Feeling as close to inspiration as I was going to get, I excused myself from my friends and adjourned to a classically appointed study — complete with walls of books, volume upon volume of aged texts talking about who knows what.
I put on some abstract music to set the mood, opened Microsoft Word, and stared slack-jawed at a blank page. Waiting for something to arrive, I tried typing a few self-indulgent, verbose sentences about grand subjects, only to delete them seconds after their wretched creation. “Surely,” I thought, “something about this setting will inspire me to do some highbrow writing, some truly memorable shit.”
But I had nothing, not a thing — a big empty page, not a thought in my brain. Begging for interruption, my thoughtless ramblings were cut short by sister and our friend. They found me, evidently just the person they’d been looking for. “We’ve found something for you to write about,” one of them said.
I was then led to a sunroom where a solitary pinecone lay on the floor, resembling a turd of considerable size. Moments later, I arrived back to my computer, inspired to write. None of the profound revelations I expected came to me, but a more important one had. I had rather pretentiously assumed that since I going to be somewhere noteworthy, surely excellent writing would follow suit. I’d sit in a fancy office and begin a masterpiece.
Not only did I not create a masterpiece, but I’m glad I didn’t. It would’ve been a lie. I feel no profound connection to anything, I’m just happy to be away.