Summer Writing Spaces

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It’s technically summer, but if you’re from Chicago or have lived here for some time, you know that “it’s summer” doesn’t mean much at times. I think there have been a total of three beach days this entire year thus far, and from someone that spent most of his twenties in Florida, that is not acceptable! Okay, it’s perfectly acceptable, but after going to the beach one day, I discovered that the beach is the perfect place to write.

It was in the 80’s, so my friend and I decided to go check out Chicago’s lake. When I moved here two years ago, another friend from Florida had just moved up, so we went to the beach for the first time. He was so excited.

“I can’t wait to just sit by the water, let it clear out my sinuses, and let the salt water wash over my body.”

I looked at him, dumbfounded. “You know this is a freshwater lake, right? There is no salt in the water.”

“What?” He questioned me for a bit, and he didn’t believe me when I told him some bodies of water do not have salt in them. I guess if you grew up on the ocean, that’s all you would know… but I still wonder about how he passed second grade Earth Science.

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The water, the sand, the waves, the wind, the heat…these all combine to create perfect harmony.  The peace yet violence of the water; the warmth from the sun yet tinge of cold from the breeze—these make the perfect writing conditions.

I’m currently taking my last class as a student, so I brought my journal out to the beach. I just wrote for a good hour, soaking in the rays and letting my hand flow across the pages of my journal. I wrote the assigned entry, then wrote for myself. Being somewhere like the beach in the middle of the city inspired me to keep going—to keep writing. Last time, I blogged about writing 500 words a day. While journaling at the beach, I wrote well over 2,000 words.

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It’s summer. Whether it’s hot or cold, get out of your apartment or cubicle and find somewhere in the city to write. Do it longhand—let your writing get messy and experimental. I’ve been to outdoor cafes, Grant Park, the lily pad pond by Lincoln Park Zoo, and a bench near my apartment, facing into storefronts. Giving myself the time and space to write outside of my normal writing zone has allowed my work to garner new life. So, I’m going to keep finding these places, MarginAliens, and I encourage you to do the same.