I am half way complete with my journey across the United States and I have spent the last week in the small town of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This is an area of the world that many great creative artists, musicians, and writers that I greatly admire have lived and found inspiration in the quiet woods. I was curious to find out what this place had to offer as an outlet for a creative mind, so I packed my bags, figured out the best route to get to Eau Claire, and found a place to stay in a one hundred twenty five year old house.
I always play the introvert card with my friends even though they know I have a very outgoing personality. Introverts recharge their battery alone and in nature, extroverts recharge in social situations and at loud parties. While I spent the first week of my trip visiting several friends in metropolitan cities, I knew Wisconsin was going to be a time for me to relax and recharge before the rest of my journey.
I was sensitive to every floorboard creak, every high pitch squeak while I stayed in the old house. I was there all by myself, completely isolated and thousands of miles from family and friends. At the beginning, I played music and watched movies to keep the deadening silence at bay. I could actually relate to the mind state of Edgar Allan Poe as he wrote “The Raven”. By the third day, I reached a point of clarity when I realized Eau Claire had none of the loud city noises or distractions that I had back at home. It was then that I was able to tap into my inner thoughts reevaluate life choices and take a break from other people’s thoughts on what they think about my life.
When I felt the need to be social or the need to connect to commercialism, I went to the mall or walked around downtown. I even made friends at the local knitting and crochet circle in town. But every night, I would retreat back to the house before sunset and venture out the next day after the sun came out.
It was not until the last day of the trip that I wished I had more time to spend reflecting on everything. I looked forward to seeing friends and family again as the days winded down. I still played indie pop music, but that was something I always did at home. I was not able to draw an entire webcomic (there was not enough time), but I now know how Justin Vernon of Bon Iver was able to write the For Emma, Forever Ago album while in Eau Claire during the Winter, and it makes sense why Neil Gaiman (whose house is one city over in Menomonie) decided to make Wisconsin his home. There is a creative force in the woods, in this land that comes from within a person after all the noisy thoughts are pit away.
I would highly recommend anyone facing writer’s block or artist’s block to spend some time in a quiet town with very new surroundings in nature.
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kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Aug. 5, 2019
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