I was recently asked why I thought artists seem to be drawn to smaller towns. This question really got me thinking about the little community I live in and what enticed me to take the trusting move from the metropolis I was raised in.
I think back to my early years as a young child and remember really enjoying small communities near lakes, rivers and the ocean. Having that opportunity to visit an isolated town near the water made me feel at peace with the world. While growing up, we regularly took vacations on the Oregon coast to a little town called Rockaway. I loved to walk along the beach and collect various driftwood, rocks, and shells. I took great care as I gathered my treasures then tucked them away for safe keeping. I later created wind chimes and shell animals out of my many finds, all the while keeping the recipient of my work of art in mind. I did wood-burning on much of the driftwood collected and had quite the assortment of twisted magic wands bleached by the summer sunshine. To this day, I have creations that I had gifted to my mother and grandmother. They somehow found their way back to me.
For half of my life I lived in a larger populated area. There I found life to be a chaotic rush and felt very lost among the masses. The hustle and bustle of traffic and the hurried lifestyle was something I wanted to escape. I craved for the opportunity to slow down the pace of my life as my creative being felt suffocated and oppressed by the concrete high rises. So, enough was enough.
Fortunately, an opportunity came along and I moved to Leavenworth, Washington. Leavenworth is a beautiful Bavarian style community that is rich with the arts. Lush forests and mountains surround most of the town. Streams, creeks, rivers and lakes are easily accessible to locals as well as many tourists year round. People hike, fish, swim and camp. They also love to explore the variety of shops downtown full of so many different things to look at.
A few years later, I moved to Wenatchee, Washington, which is just a thirty-minute jaunt away from Leavenworth. Wenatchee is more populated and the forest and mountains are located on the outskirts of town. Ah, but the Wenatchee river is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Wenatchee is also rich with the arts. Many creative opportunities are available, such as a writing community, music, art and theater.
I’ve learned that small town communities are loyal to their own. An artist is more easily recognized and promoted there. A small town newspaper may feature stories about them, the radio may ask them on for a guest spot. People seem to be more connected to one another in small towns. Everybody knows everybody or has at least heard of them. Many are willing to support the cause and keep the arts alive.
The friends I have made in my community inspire me. I feel very thankful to be a part of the eclectic crowd of individuals who live here. I have always felt as if I belonged on the Island of the Misfits and have discovered that there are others out there who feel just like me, and several even reside in my community. Many of those kindred spirits are creatively gifted in some way or another. I’ve told my writing partner, Mel, that there is always lots of good book material to be found in small towns. It is not uncommon for us to have an aha moment that translates into good book material later on. Inspiration comes in all forms.
So, if you feel creatively constipated, I suggest you take a little adventure to a small town near you and check out the good book material.
Dee Taylor and her two best friends just published their debut novel, Out from Under. Catch up with Dee, Mel, and Suz at http://peapodgirls.com. They are the Peapod Girls.
We are three ordinary women from the little town of Wenatchee, WA. We are big kids whose ages range from 42 to 58. On a road trip back from California, we joked about how we should write our adventures down and publish the stories for the world to enjoy. We found that writing feels good and it brought out our silly sides and allowed us to break out of our shells. Writing is very addictive and there is no cure. We write to entertain ourselves and others. If our book can put a smile on one person’s face we feel successful.