Friday, August 24, 2007

Vacation / Get Inspired


Michael Graves

As writers, we all possess the colossal urge to be expressive. It sometimes feels as though this urge can never be squelched. Currently, I am engrossed in the concoction of my first novel, Parade. This piece has been simply pouring onto the page (I give thanks to Buddha and Trim Spa). Because of my non-stop creative burst, I have ignored sleep, housewifery, messages and shitty television. I cannot stop writing! It’s a fantastic feeling! And I’m rather proud of the work that I have completed. Yet still, it’s time for a miniature mental vacation from my prose.
We all spend a great deal of time secluded in cafes, bedrooms, libraries, etc. We all take Grub Street classes or seminars. We all attend readings, book parties and other literary events. Living inside the writer’s world can become some sort of a one way street. We’re all zooming in the same direction (agent, book deal, sex tape scandal!) and, along our journey, we stop for tune-ups (conferences, writing groups, etc.). At certain junctures, though, it is in the best interest of the writer, and his or her work, to take a break. If one exists, solely in the writing world, one won’t have very much to write about. Tomfoolery, naughtiness and random acts of horseplay feed an artist’s work immensely.
As the conclusion of yet another summer approaches, I propose that we all nab just one afternoon or evening (an entire day?) and goof off. Attempt something new! Jump into an adventure. Who knows? Maybe this will help to inspire you creatively and otherwise.
Below, find fifteen ideas. Remember: Relax and let your brain roam free. Also remember: Don’t be a smartass and get arrested or anything.

1. Venture out to Davis Square and lick something at J.P. Licks ( After, sit in the bustling courtyard where you can listen to local musicians or just people watch.
2. Head over to the Coolidge Corner Theatre and see a classic flick. Some Like it Hot or Tron. Be sure to investigate the late night screenings offered too (
3. Take part in a New England tradition. Candlepin bowling! Visit Milky Way Lounge and Lanes and roll your balls around ( With a cool atmosphere and wall-to-wall scenesters, you’re sure to have fun.
4. Shag all day, be nasty. I don’t need to offer suggestions here.
5. Rent a pair of skates and try not to land on your ass. Visit Chez-Vous for their Sunday evening adult skate. It only costs ten bucks and, maybe, you can hold someone’s hand during a slow song (
6. Jump on the T (any color line will do) and take a trip to a place you’ve never been before. Go to Wonderland or Revere Beach. You never know what you’ll discover (
7. With a friend (or someone you like like), swap lunches. Ask he or she to make you a brown-bagged meal and you do the same. But keep it a secret. Trek over to the Boston Common, open up your surprise feast and enjoy (hopefully you don’t get something crappy like an egg salad sandwich).
8. Hit up CVS or your local drug store. Purchase some low-priced facial masks (don’t freak out fellas, beauty knows no gender). Slather up, following the directions carefully. Then, relax and listen to some jazz on 89.7 FM (
9. Dress up in something classy and prance into the Ritz Carlton. Have a delicious drink at their JER-NE Restaurant and Bar. Try a flute of the Champagne Ritz Brut…because luxury always nurtures the soul (
10. Drop by the Animal Rescue League of Boston and volunteer. Support the wonderful work that they do by lending a hand. Maybe you could walk a puppy or pet some kitty cats. Any critter would love your attention (!
11. Get wild with the working ladies! Stop by Centerfolds and take in the dancing sights. Tuesday is Amateur Night where the winner receives $1000! Awesome! Again, don’t get arrested (
12. Invigorate your mind by touring the Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts. The work is contemporary, fresh and stunning. Give them a look (
13. Create a mix CD for a friend or lover. This shit never goes out of style. And it’s a fitting way to show whomever that you’re thinking of them. Consider old school Chaka Khan and Cameo. Think about Steve Miller Band, Pink Floyd and Stevie Nicks.
14. Clean your room! Dig through your closet and drawers and collect whatever you don’t need/use. Throw a swap bash with friends! Donate your findings to Salvation Armani.
15. Give yourself a hug. Or give yourself more. You deserve a break and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about that fact. Give you and your writing time…all will be terrific.

Hopefully, these suggestions are useful and, hopefully, they infuse your creative soul with joy and enthusiasm. Keep writing!
If interested, you may find me at the local roller skating rink, at Centerfolds or at
Remember: Please continue to support Grub Street, Inc. The classes available this fall are going to be amazing!.


Whitney said...

Michael, I'm so psyched that your novel is going well, but also psyched that you are taking time out to have fun. Just reading this post makes me remember how great it was to have you volunteering in the Grub office. Don't be a stranger!

The Writers' Group said...

Michael, I remember you from your Grub South workshop. Your list is a hoot and should be recommended reading for all writers.