Found Out in West County

 
From the rising of the sun
to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord
is to be praised.
(Psalm 113:3 NIV)
 
 
Instead of returning to the city for my writer’s adventure, I drove west. To familiar territory, where hopefully the distraction of the unfamiliar might open up greater freedom to write.
 
It was a beautiful springlike day, so I headed toward one of our suburbs, Chesterfield. I had in mind to stop at a couple artsy shops, eat lunch at Faust Park, and stroll the familiar halls of Chesterfield Mall.
 
Apparently in Paris, according to Eric Maisel, the locals cultivate the art of strolling or flanerie. In my attempt to embody the spirit of a flaneur, I chose places where I could take in the sights, sounds and surroundings by blending in. What better way for a suburbanite to camouflage herself, than strolling in a county park and the corridors of an American shopping center.
 
On my way to these familiar frontiers, I stopped at a strip mall. I pulled into the parking lot near Olive and Fee Fee to check out this little bead and metal arts shop, Glasshopper Studio. As I drove around the perimeter, I read the signs above the storefronts: Happy China, Joo Joo, Ichiban, Pita + and Dobbs Tire Center and just for good measure, a Thai food restaurant. The ladies at the bead shop were friendly, and I found some ephemera for my mixed media art stash.
 
Since I wasn’t feeling very international in my taste buds, I stopped at Dierbergs to browse the soup and salad bar. With my clam chowder and salad in hand, I headed over to Faust Park to have a picnic with my journal and the Beloved.
 
It was the perfect day, lots of people out enjoying the sunshine and a secluded picnic table in a cove of trees where I supped and tried to write. (This experiment of writing away from home has proved one thing so far, I’m not comfortable writing in public, it’s just too distracting.)
 
I was beginning to wonder if these outings were more inspirational. With that thought in mind, I decided to check out the Butterfly House, which my friend Lynn Morrissey found very inspiring several years ago. I was going to reread her chapter in Love Letters regarding her experience, but the humidity and activity of the butterflies kept me occupied.
 
After wandering around for a half hour, mesmerized by the fluttering and flitting of these fragile creatures, I returned to my car to seek out cooler environs. Off to the mall!
 
In one of my guidebooks titled, Finally A Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis By and For St. Louisans, I discovered that Chesterfield Mall has dedicated a small portion of itself to the arts. Three or four “galleries” and the black box theatre, Dramatic License Productions are located in an area dubbed “Artropolis.” I browsed in Fusion and The Foundrie, both with local artisans displaying and selling their wares. I really liked The Foundrie, which had a vintage feel to it.
 
During my afternoon out west, I was found out. I am easily distracted and sometimes adventures end up being more for inspiration than actual writing. However, I will not be daunted, I will find my writng place away from home. Come back next Friday, and see what else I discover about writing in St. Louis.
 

5 thoughts on “Found Out in West County

  1. Hi Kel & Glynn,What fun to read comments by two people I know (Glynn, at least by stellar reputation!) Glynn, we've communicated through Dan. I have really enjoyed reading about your St. Louis writing adventures, Kel, (not just because you write so well), but because, of course, I've ventured to some of the same places to write, and by contrast, I'm discovering some new venues because of you. Admittedly, though I've written about a life-transforming experience that occurred in the Butterfly House that you reference from my book, I couldn't imagine writing there–though I might outside in the park that skirts around it. And I would direct you to the MO Botanical Garden for a quiet interlude of writing, surrounded by the its lush colors and seasonal contrasts. Poet and friend Louis Daniel Brodsky (who visits my church and who is an exceptional writer) often writes poetry in this exquisite setting. It feeds his soul. Even if you find it difficult to write midst the distractions of public environs (I personally love the variety), I think I'm safe in saying that your explorations will provide meaningful and fun fodder for future writings (as your posts here prove). So venture on, new-frontiers explorer, Kel! Love reading about your adventures!LynniPS I love Kirkwood. Mother moved there, and while I've written in her darling condo, I need to take a walking tour, pen in hand!

  2. Lynni-This has been a fun expirement and I do love recording what I "find out" while I'm out and about. I hope to connect my experience at the Butterfly House with yours in a post this week. I felt invited to go there specifically by the Beloved and was mesmerized by the setting and while there decided to splurge on a year membership to MO Botanical Garden which includes free entrance to both the garden and the Butterfly House and I believe another location further west…the Shaw Reserve. So more places to explore and I think I may need to be more intentional about the writing part…but as you noted the experiences themselves lend to the writing process! I look forward to spring weather for more writing adventures. Peace and love-Kel…maybe we will "bump" into each other over in Kirkwood soon šŸ™‚

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