From a writing point of view, does it matter where you live? Cities, large cities, have been where, historically, and culturally, literature thrives. It is cities where multitudes of diverse peoples live, where you are bound to interact with folks not like yourself, where talk fills your ears, where emotions are street attractions and the hurly-burly urban world provides endless stimulation. Or, as Samuel Johnson put it, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” Any large city might do.
I have lived in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Providence, Denver, Philadelphia, London, and Venice, Italy. It is mostly New York, London, and San Francisco, which have, I believe, had an impact on my writing, New York most of all—with some fifteen books or so set there. (But then, I grew up in New York.) Writing my forthcoming book, Catch You Later, Traitor (Algonquin), a NYC tale set in the 1950’s, released a host of complex and very real memories to create what I think is one of my better books.
Yet, having grown up in a city of eight million, I now reside high in the Rocky Mountains, in a community numbering thirteen, of which my wife and I count for two and the others are at least a mile away. (We are still looking forward to meeting them all.) Therefore, another forthcoming book, Old Wolf (Athenaeum) is a fable about old age and youth, set in these mountains. It is not something I would have written if I had lived only in cities. Indeed, last night, I was out gazing up at the vast Milky Way that graces our heaven and I thought, the darker the night the brighter the stars. Not a city thought.
But ultimately, it is what and how you see the world that shapes you, the writer, not your street address. Just reread To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.