(Hebrews 13:14 NLT)
I took the Metrolink to our fair city of St. Louis today. It was an expirement of sorts, a hometown adventure. I was seeking inspiration away from my usual surroundings.
I am not a city girl and I am no longer a country girl. I am a just another suburbanite looking for adventure and glitz in the city. I am a writer, and I have come to realize that as a writer, much of my life is spent in the imagination.
As some of my friends can attest, I come up with these crazy, romantic ideas, like becoming a world traveller in my own city or starting a hiking club or designing a “Bible as Literature” book club. I have a lot of ideas, not that all of them pan out
For my latest adventure, I am recreating the atmopshere of A Writer’s Paris, here in St. Louis. I mean, we do have some French roots, thus our name, St. Louis, from the Louisana Purchase and all that. In Paris, people go to the train stations to people watch and enjoy art, why not see if I could do the same here?
I was a little giddy, wondering what or who I would encounter. In light of my hobo honeymoon, I chose to go down to Union Station, our famous train depot and home to Union Station Hotel. I hadn’t been in a while, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the food court still open and a few people milling around. Mostly locals and some college basketball fans– this weekend the city is hosting Arch Madness. I did find a few people to watch and very little art, except for the train memorabilia and the architecture in the hotel lobby.
For lunch, I sat at a cafe table in the sunny atrium. I ate my sandwich, while trying to scribble in my journal. I mostly wrote about how I didn’t like my new journal or my new pen, and kept fighting the urge to just go home and be comfortable in my blue thinking chair.
Since I was getting restless, I checked my map for the location of the newly renovated Central Library, then I walked over to check it out. There were some tourists on Market Street walking toward the Arch and a few folks sitting on the benches in Keener Park Plaza.
The difference between St. Louis and other cities that I have visited is the people. Downtown St. Louis is sparsely populated. It feels more like walking through a deserted town, than the cosmopolitan feel of New York City and Chicago. It just lacks volume. Hardly any cars, so you feel foolish waiting to cross the street. The people who are out and about look warily at each other. I found myself mumbling to myself and looking at the skyline. Do people do this in Paris?
Inside the library was quiet, too. A beautiful building with stained glass windows, marble staircases and dark mahogeny tables blended with some modern rooms and seating areas. A potential place for undistracted writing.
But before I could find a writing spot, I noticed on the ornate wall clock that it was 2:10pm, so I quickly peeked around some more rooms and then headed back to the Union Station Metrolink. My surburban sensibility didn’t want to get caught in rush hour traffic on 70 west.
All in all it was a good day: out in the sunshine, people watching and riding the Metrolink. (For $4.50 you can take a roundtrip to many locations in the Greater St. Louis area. I was thinking it would be worth it just to sit on the train and read. Or eavesdrop on conversations, which I know is not polite, but who knows what great dialogue I might catch for a novel.)
Back in my SUV, I tuned into our local Christian station. I smiled as they were playing God of This City by Chris Tomlin.
Have yet to come
And greater things
Are still to be done in this city