A great reflection by Gwen Mullins:
For years I coasted, tightening up my accent whenever I traveled to New York or when I spoke with a colleague from Massachusetts or Maine, which I frequently had occasion to do at work. Sometimes, when I drank too many glasses of wine, my accent slipped in, my vowels becoming swollen and elongated. Years passed. When I wrote short stories, they were set in cities like New York or, worse, they were set nowhere at all, and my characters were accentless and well traveled, like a bunch of newscasters from the Midwest.