…Is quite possibly to blame on where I live. Have you been to Western Massachusetts? I’m not talking about the mountainous majesty of the Berkshires or the scholarly art scene of the collegiate community or the gentle rural farmlands of the northern section of the Connecticut River valley. No I’m talking about the urban cess pool that is Springfield. An area defined by polluted water and a rancid stench-factory of a sewer treatment plant, drug infested neighborhoods full of boarded up or burned down houses covered with graffiti, homeless people pushing shopping carts full of soda cans, a commercial district completely devoid of small businesses in favor of chains and franchises. A blight upon the earth made all the more scenic by an F3 tornado that ripped thru here back in June and completely destroyed the entire south end of the city.
Tornado? But I thought you said you live in Massachusetts? Yes, we do get tornadoes here. More frequently then you would think. Altho rarely as bad as the one we had recently. And that’s not all! In 2011 we also had a hurricane/tropical storm which caused massive flooding, an earth quake, a giant hail storm and a Halloween nor’easter that dropped 3 feet of snow overnight and brought down about half of whatever trees weren’t already knocked down by the tornado and left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity (including me) for up to a week. Yep, Western Mass was the place to be in 2011.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I live in a shit hole. I am a strong believer that environment affects one’s ability to create art, whether it be writing, painting, music, dancing or whatever artistic outlet your brain uses. I do admit I am fortunate enough that my neighborhood looks almost (but really not quite) suburban, with tree lined streets and single family houses, mostly due to the fact that we are surrounded by a small woodsy nature conservation area that has spared us from being bulldozed into condo oblivion. But if you go a quarter-mile in any direction its nothing but trash littered strip malls and gas stations and fast food restaurants. The only remotely scenic area in the city is the Quadrangle, where the art, history and science museums, the central library and the Dr. Seuss memorial are located:
In my workin-class/lower middle-class neighborhood, I wouldn’t exactly call the scenery a beauty to behold. This is the view I have from my home office:
That’s even assuming I could use my office which I can’t because this is what it looks like right now:
I know I could write so much better if I could look out my window and see this every day, like I did on my vacation to Cape Cod back in September: