The Sanctuary of Focus

 "This had been a little cranny of wild wood when she'd attended Butler, hidden away from all the trimmed lawns and shrubbery that made the rest of the university so picturesque. But she could remember slipping back here, journal in hand, and sitting under that huge..."
-"The Conjure Man" by Charles de Lint (pg. 214)
You may notice from previous posts that I swear by the process of immersion. In addition to reading and writing and chatting up other literati about their favorite books, I often scour the web or local periodicals such as TimeOut New York or NYMag.com for inspiring talks about literature.

This fall I attended Edith Wharton: Old and New New York at the Morgan Library & Museum with fellow lit. nerd and my dear friend Ellen London, COO of Nothing But Gold Productions. While listening to Hildegard Hoeller, Professor of English at The City University of New York, lecture about my hometown (New York, NY) and how Wharton fashioned her own visions of this urban landscape through her novels, I felt myself transported to the seminar classrooms of Colby College, where I spent four years honing my craft. A liberal arts education offered a truly unique experience. While our recreational shenanigans couldn’t rival those of larger state schools (see: Huffington Post’s Top Party Schools of 2011), what I benefited from in turn was the insulated environment.

We were spoiled by days like this...
When I attended Colby, Miller library was the heart of the campus. We English / Creative Writing majors would disappear into the upper stacks to tuck into our term papers or during a semester of Gothic literature, The Shining by Stephen King amid a Nor’easter, only to return to the first floor to “study” a.k.a spend time with our close friends and professors. When the spring thaw hit, we could be found on the Quad or lounging in the fields up on Runnels Hill. Life outside campus melted away, leaving us to focus on the microcosm we created as leaders of our own community. Perhaps that insulated lifestyle came as such a felicitous surprise because my roots were in a major metropolitan city, where quiet and open spaces were at a premium.

...and evenings like this.
As for my ADHD, while I was on my way to mastering the academic skills that came so difficult at first, the limited distractions encouraged me to settle into my study carrel and the semesters of stories and papers I crafted there. After living in Maine, I can appreciate why so many authors carve out their hermitages in our most northeastern state. For me, Mayflower Hill offered four years of immersion in which I could muffle what was extraneous and focus on what mattered most.

What environments help you find the sanctuary to focus?