Somehow I've fallen out of the habit of writing at home. It began when Paul and I moved into an apartment in Manhattan, which is -- like the home of every middle-class person in the city unless you've been there forever or have fantastic good fortune -- tiny. Urbane, cozy and welcoming, but very small. I couldn't work there when Paul was working, because he's just too much of a presence; I can practically hear him thinking. So I started to go to coffee shops in the West Village, which worked well for me -- just enough background noise, usually nobody there I knew, other people working too so there weren't loud cell phone conversations. Of course, these places are full of other people thinking, but I don't have the same connection to their electric impulses that I do to Paul's.
Now I'm in Houston, and though I'm here by myself, I still can't work at home. Either I've forgotten how to sit still in my own space, there are too many distractions (wireless!), or my imaginative process has just adapted itself to circumstance and I haven't adapted back. Today it's a gorgeously sunny, cool Sunday, a rarity here, so all the usual places I'd go are packed, and I've wound up at a coffee shop in my neighborhood. I don't like the vibe indoors, so I am outside, at a table which does not inspire confidence in its stability, and some guys next to me (who just left, thank goodness) were talking about how they'd only date white girls with at least a GED. Now I think I can settle down to work.
Is this just me, or do you find you have trouble concentrating in familiar places the way you used to? My idiosyncracy, or cultural shift, or some of both?