Ceremonial Tea House, Cottage of Tranquility, East-West Center, Emperor Akihito, Emperor Meiji, Empress Michiko, Hale Manoa, Honolulu, Japanese Garden, On Writing, Stephen King, University of Hawaii/Manoa, Writerly Nooks, Writing Places
Writerly Wednesdays is where I showcase bits and pieces of writerly advice, tech tips, industry news, and just sheer writing joys. One of my favorite Wednesday series is Writerly Nooks where I take you to the places and spaces where I do my writing.
East-West Road flanks the Diamond Head-side of UH’s flagship, Manoa campus. “The East-West Center was established by the United States Congress in 1960 as a national educational institution to foster better relations and understanding among the peoples of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific islands through programs of cooperative study, training, and research.” Ground was broken for the building projects the month of my birth, May 1961. I have always found a sense of kinship with this space and a resonance with its mission.
In my garden
Side by side
Native plants, foreign plants
Growing together. ~Emperor Meiji (1852 – 1912)
Just mauka of Hale Manoa dormitories and apartments sits Jefferson Hall home to conference rooms, banquet facilities, and offices. From the frontal view, one could easily mistake it for a Washington Mall monument. The rear view transports one to Meiji-era Japan. Jakuan Tea House, known as the Cottage of Tranquility perches at the garden’s summit. From there a stream descends in a meandering ribbon and cascades into two lower levels. At the last stage, it pools deep and calm enough to support colorful koi and a bounty of riparian dwellers.
The monkey grass grows slow and spongey to create an ideal natural matting in which to spread out and enjoy a good book. No fear of grass stains, no need of constant manicuring. Nature’s answer to a tatami mat.
Even at the height of the noonday sun, shady, cool spots abound. I always wonder that my UH jewel box locations are not overpopulated, but there rarely are. At most, I find a handful of couples comfortably sprawled about in their self-created islands atop the sea of grass or perched on a clump of boulders or on the descending flank that meets with Manoa Stream. On this particular day, only a pair of University gardeners kept me company as they scooped debris with long-poled nets.
Where are you inspired to write? Do you like public places, semi-secluded spaces, or home sweet home? Do you have a public building or institution that feels like it is part of your own personal history? Won’t you share you special places with us? Leave us a comment.