Back when I was younger I would routinely produce 10+ pages of work each day. Looking back, I find that just mind boggling. Though at the time it would be common that every one of those pages would be tossed, the idea of producing so much work is something I struggle with, now. Over the last five or six years I have seen my productivity come down to creating perhaps two to three pages each month, though now those two to three pages nearly always get kept and rewritten and end up here where all the rest of my “passes the bar” work ends up.
One of the reasons for this drop in production has always been my inability to find a proper space to sit down to read and write. Coffee shops used to do it for me: the semi-public but segregated private of a few specific seats in the Starbucks where I grew up were perfect for having both the social atmosphere as well as the solitude necessary for me to really get my head into my work. For a long time I searched for similar spaces. There were a number of spots on the Skidmore campus I loved and that treated me well, but in the past few years I have found coffee shops to have not enough privacy, and more secluded areas lacked the social atmosphere that I have always found necessary.
But I found something the other day which has, so far, been my best experience in receiving both the solitude and the social atmosphere that really kicks me into a headspace that is conducive to writing.
I am quite happy with this location. The bench is nestled about fifty feet from Davis Station in Somerville, and as such there is always a constant stream of individuals walking by but not lingering. The drift of conversation and the pounding of feet provides the sort of pseudo-social setting that keeps me connected to the world, while the transitory nature of the location means that no one really sticks around too long to create the feeling of encroachment or invasion which has kept me out of the coffee shops and similar establishments (and I don’t have to buy a coffee, if I don’t want to). The statues are wonderful company, providing the illusion of close human contact without that whole “being alive” nonsense. I have, so far, produced an astonishing amount of work at that bench.