I only moved away from home in college, and I wasn’t far enough to not go home every break. So, moving all the way down the coast is the first time I’ve moved away from home. That I’m counting.
Writing is a portable endeavor. You can write anywhere; you can write about anything. With the invention of the internet, submitting manuscripts and other work to editors, agents, magazines, anthologies, journals, contests – is easier than ever. You could be a nomad, and somehow eke out a life writing and moving aimlessly or purposefully across continents and oceans. It’s been done.
But this move has prompted me to think about writers’ roots.
I’ve begun this essay five times, losing focus in the details of moving and compensation for homesickness in my descriptions of the place I moved from and the place I moved to, however, those details aren’t important. The question of rootedness is.
Do writers have to have some kind of roots in order to write well? As with most subjective questions – I think it depends on the writer. Even if you’re the restless, non-committal type, I’m sure you’ve got some patterns to your system of living and being (even if it’s just the fact that you don’t stay in one place longer than three days, that would be a pattern). It’s a human thing. Most of us have a source of stability that we cling to, whether it’s a place, a routine or a person. The point of roots, taking the tree as an example, is to anchor/stabilize, and nourish us.
I souper-douper dislike change. I like everything to stay the same because it’s secure and familiar and comfortable. Changing my environment has really shook up how I write. I’m figuring out how to write with intangible roots: routines instead of environment.
Most of us need the comfort and security of stability so that we can try new things and reach out for new challenges. When we don’t have anchoring roots, we tend to search out familiar surroundings and situations. I stay at home, I try to find safe footing before I venture out and begin saying yes to new experiences and invitations. I’m cautious in new environments because I don’t like them. Maybe there are people out there who can just go and adapt and still thrive. Pretty sure those people are called extroverts.
Since I’ve placed a higher value on my tangible roots to place, it’s been hard to make intangible roots in other ways. I’m hesitant to make my roots to place again because we’ll move in a year or so and I’ll have to do it all over again.
All that rambling to say: I think the way I write is more dependent on physical place than I thought and I’m having trouble getting words out because I’m not in my usual, familiar comfortable place. This is going to stretch me in ways I didn’t anticipate. I’ll just have to write my way through it~