City Mouse, Country Mouse

I’m sitting in a modern, oddly-shaped chair on the second floor of the fancy new Harvard University Student Center. The Boyfriend is next to me, tapping away on his laptop, working on one of his novels. It’s gray and rainy and chilly outside; warm and dry and cozy in here. My intention for the day was to drink lots of coffee and do lots of painting, but I’m having trouble tearing my eyes away from the scene on Mass Ave. I'm mesmerized by the traffic, the people, and the holiday-neutral lights in the trees. I’m quite content, sipping on my oat milk latte (pretentious, I know… but SO good!) and watching the world go by… but I’m also feeling guilty about being so unproductive.


We’ve lived in this area for almost ten years. It’s not like I’m not accustomed to all this activity. But I’ll never fully get used to it, or truly feel settled, or be completely comfortable here. My Happy Place is decidedly not the city. I need the woods or the water or - at the very least - buildings that are no more than three stories high. It’s difficult for me to feel creative and inspired in this environment. The Boyfriend, who was born in New York City and raised just outside New Haven, is just the opposite. He calls our current view “kinetic - I love it!” He is getting a lot of writing done this afternoon. I guess I am, too, now that I think of it! I often do my best writing when I am overstimulated… out of sorts… frustrated. My best painting, on the other hand, happens when I am relaxed and happy. The Country Mouse needs her pastoral environment; the City Mouse loves his bright lights and noise and movement.

Are you a “creative type?” When and where do you feel you do your best work?