What was the most inspiring place you've visited?

Q&A With Shay Each Sunday

Q: What was the most inspiring place you’ve visited?

A: IRELAND! It’s peaceful and green, there’s a lovely little chill in the air, and the scenery is basically like stepping into a postcard.

I wasn’t really into writing when I visited Ireland about ten years ago, it was during my hardcore tennis phase. But I think if I were into writing then I could sit outside or in front of a window and feel so peaceful and unhindered. I remember sitting on the Cliffs of Moher shortly after arriving in Ireland. After exploring around, looking at the castles and the water, taking pictures, I sat cross-legged on the edge and shut my eyes and felt an incredible calm come over me. That doesn’t happen to me often. I’m usually pretty wound up in my head, anxious about one thing or another, dwelling on something that happened, thinking about what I have to do, feeling guilty about what I’m not doing, etc etc. Sometimes I feel that peace in summer when I’m at the beach or by the pool at home, I can shut my eyes and relax, but other than home in the Hamptons, Ireland was the one place that could rival that feeling.

I would love to go back to visit and bring my writing game this time. Dreaming of setting myself up in some little cabin in the greenery and typing away, or at some quaint cafe where no one is in a rush. But I’d probably just end up staring out the window or reading or watching TV or something. Or just drinking coffee and online shopping while pretending to work, which happens on occasion. It sounds awesome in theory though, doesn’t it?

Also, this doesn’t really have to do with inspiration, though it is REALLY pretty there. Kissing the Blarney Stone is a lot more difficult than you might imagine. You have to lie on your back and inch yourself toward it letting your head hang in what is essentially a crevice. You then reach your lips to it upside down. I think I barely grazed the stone when I attempted and I was totally distracted by the intensity of the situation rather than remembering it was supposed to bring me good luck! I guess you even gotta work for luck, huh? That castle was amazing though, the cracks and crumbles and worn look of it made it what it was. My favorite city we visited was Killarney. Much more relaxed than Dublin, and even Galway, though those are definitely unique and fun too. Pretty much all of Ireland is just awesome, including the accents. I wish I had one, maybe I’d feel a little cooler when speaking.

England was a close second in terms of inspiration. I travelled there on a different trip for a study abroad, and getting to see the homes of Dickens and Virginia Woolf was pretty inspiring. I probably didn’t even appreciate it as much as I could’ve because I was only just starting to think about life as a writer, and that really helped my mindset. And of course I had to go to Wimbledon while there. Disclaimer: The strawberries and cream aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. It’s not whipped cream—it’s some plain milky heavy cream. Like, what?

Anyway, traveling is awesome. I love experiencing new places, but whether they’re inspiring or not, the inspiration ultimately has to come from within. I could go to Ireland and be totally energized and bursting with ideas but putting those ideas down and making them into some sort of coherence is where the discipline comes in. So, be inspired, but make it stick. And definitely go to Ireland.

Blarney Castle.jpg