I love writing about locations – places where anything interesting could happen, places where the mundane becomes magic. After living in the Twin Cities for seven years, I have found many interesting locations that have shaped the way I write. Some of these locations are well known, capturing the attention of amazing writers like Joni Tevis, author of The Wet Collection. Her book opens with a prologue essay inspired by visit to the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, and it beautifully captures the spirit of small surprises that is so prevalent in this metropolis and so nourishing to the creative spirit. Here are five of my favorite corners of the Cities:
If you are looking for characters, this is a fantastic place to start (and refuel). The life size Statue of Liberty on the wall, library shelf wallpaper, original artwork by local artists, and the diverse range of furniture styles make me feel like I am sitting in a global living room, surrounded by the buzz of ideas. Many writers come here to avail themselves of the scrumptious menu, and there is a list on the wall where authors can write the names of the books they worked on while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee or a treat. (I personally recommend the Caramel Chocolate Brownie and Zander’s vegetarian quiche.)
While an art museum may seem like a stereotypical place to get creative inspiration, I’ve found the MIA to be perfectly set up for writers and art students alike. It’s usually a quiet building, and I enjoy meandering through the galleries of portraits and landscapes on the third floor because of the solitude. I have written entire assignments while sitting in front of paintings and sculptures whose features inspired a flurry of ideas. The security guards are very kind and will allow you to observe the art in the permanently installed galleries as long as you aren’t in anyone’s way, so you can write in silence while surrounded by the company of masterpieces.
Travel writing is one of my favorite genres, and being in a vintage train station that overlooks the Mississippi River and many sets of intertwined train tracks is the perfect place to write pieces that go places. The Union Depot has undergone a massive renovation that culminated in the opening of the new light rail line connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis (also another good writing location). A variety of modern art installations have been set up in the main waiting room for passengers and visitors to enjoy, contrasting nicely with the 1920’s elegance of the structure itself. Even though trains and buses depart from here to Duluth and Chicago, the Union Depot is indeed a writer’s destination in itself.
If you enjoy watching viral videos of people doing questionably intelligent things, then you may be familiar with Minnehaha Falls because of professional kayaker Hunt Jennings’ attempt to go over the Falls during a major flood season. (The landing was the hard part.) Daredevils aside, it’s very busy on the weekends because of the surrounding park and miles of trails through the woods past the base of the falls. In the summertime, going to the Sea Salt Eatery for fish tacos is a pilgrimage for Twin Cities foodies – the food is delicious, and the hum of conversation and gentle roar of the Falls is a wonderful soundtrack for writing.
This is a hidden gem, tucked into the St. Paul skyway system. Furnished brightly with lots of old photographs and knickknacks, the coffee shop stands in stark contrast to the formal businesses surrounding it. The window-seat that overlooks the road below also provides a vantage point to an interesting corner of the city’ s creative architecture. It’s the perfect place to watch the world while feeling like I’ve curled up on a window-seat in my living room. They also have the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted – which, considering my love of chocolate, is saying something.
Now that I have shared some of my favorite places, please comment below with your favorite corners of your city or town! Where do you feel inspired to write, and what do you write there?
[ Image used under a Creative Commons License. Credit to Patti Deters. ]
Meet the blogger:
Sophia Myerly is a third-year student double majoring in Creative Writing and Psychology. Her genre of choice is creative non-fiction. When she is not writing, she can be found collecting inspiration from art galleries or long walks in nature.