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The 10 Best Places for Writers to Live

Humor writer Bob Woodiwiss, author of The Serfitt & Cloye Gift Catalog: Just Enough of Too Much, takes a funny look what places around the country are conducive to the writer-life.

1. With countless periodicals, publishers and literary agencies based in NEW YORK CITY, it’s the place for any writer ready to move up from rejection letters to rejection face-to-face.

2. Home of the popular and influential Iowa Writers’ Workshop, IOWA CITY offers many benefits to aspiring, as well as accomplished, authors, including: itemizing tax deductions for dependant clauses, allowing unpublishable experimental novels to be legally euthanized, and granting poets a blanket exemption from vagrancy laws.

3. The Internet, cable television, substance abuse—all are proven, time-honored methods of avoiding the mockery of the blank page. But in PHOENIX, writers have a readily available alternative time killer that’s all natural, loaded with vitamin D and absolutely free: staring at the sun. Only a blind man would fail to see the advantages.

4. In the illiterate backwater of THIKSKUL, MISS., if you write a book, you’ll be worshiped as a god. (Caveat: If you read a book, you’ll be reviled as the devil.)

5. Global leviathan Wal-Mart is headquartered in BENTONVILLE, ARK., (population at last census: 20,000) and employs an army of 5,000 full-time professional writers, all ceaselessly churning out spin on, denials of and rebuttals to the sea of negative press the retailer attracts.

6. Sure, the wind is hazardous to stacked manuscript pages, but CHICAGO has something for writers no other city has: my friend Paul Schneerenberger, who lives there. Move to Chicago and maybe you’ll run into him one day, maybe grab a coffee together, and you’ll just love the guy and be really glad you moved to Chicago and met him.

7. To attract and retain the desirable “creative class,” PORTLAND, ORE., has implemented a plethora of writer-friendly municipal programs, like Resolution Counselors who provide free plausible endings to mystery novelists who’ve written themselves into a corner, and a Needle Exchange Program that allows polemicists to trade pointed insults in real time.

8. DULUTH, MINN., is a mecca for sitcom writers for a very simple reason: Every person there has the personality of a wacky neighbor.

9. Rich in natural ink reserves and graphite deposits, POCATELLO, IDAHO, is a pen-and-pencil paradise where old-school, “low-tech” writers come with their yellow legal pads to live off the land and off the grid.

10. Written the next Hollywood blockbuster? Then head to ST. LOUIS. Only there can you wonder
how the hell you’re going to sell the thing when you live in freakin’ St. Louis.

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