The other day I spoke with a friend (native to the East Coast of the United States) about some of the differences between life on the West Coast, and life on the East Coast, and how the move from one to the other affects my art. Folks are often curious about what I think of the East Coast, and what differences I notice in the culture and life in general.
Before anything else, the first thing that comes to mind is the predominance of deciduous trees. Surprises like late afternoon thunderstorms, swaths of spring tree blossoms, and clouds of lightning bugs have been among the best parts of living somewhere different, and among my most poignant sources of inspiration.
Time (and meeting people) has helped me to understand the subtle cultural differences that lie beneath the surface between East Coast and West Coast people. If this move has shown me anything about myself, it’s been how much a product of Seattle I truly am! I have the feeling that it will only be when I eventually move on to some place new that the qualities unique to Eastern Pennsylvania will truly make themselves known.
When the opportunity to try a new place arrived last autumn, I was eager to jump on it. I couldn’t imagine turning down a chance to try a new place on for size, meet new people, see new forests, and learn a different rhythm.
What have you observed in yourself and your surroundings during relocations, or even vacations? Do you like the appeal of being shaken out of your element, or do you prefer the familiarity of your birth home? What drives you to go some place new?
How do new surroundings affect your art?