Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Inspiration - Locations

For some people, traveling is unpleasant and stressful. For others, it's a break from the everyday - a getaway. Those that travel for work might be less likely to notice some of the landscape (largely due to the fact that they're working more than sight-seeing). The casual traveler is usually going specifically to do sight-seeing.

I tend to look for a magnificent landscape. My husbands likes cities. During our travels, we usually combine a little of both. In today's post, I'm going to use my trip the Nevada/Utah/Arizona as n example. DH wanted to see Las Vegas. It is an interesting landscape in the middle of the desert. If you take out the gambling and the shows, there is still the interesting architecture and the oddity of all the tall buildings rising out of the middle of the desert. That was DH's part of the trip. My part was Bryce Canyon, a unique landscape that inspired a book (which will likely never see publication) which I titled "The Legend People." I never came up with a better title, because although my imagination embraced the whole story, I'm not sure it translated quite as well once I wrote it all down.

Bryce Canyon features "Hoodoos," which are spires of rock which glow a brilliant red in the sunshine. I saw photos before we went and immediately imagined everything from the Wicked Witch of the West (the rock formations were eroded by water) to fairies swirling around the rocks to create the patterns. Then there were the grottos and caves carved into the mountains - yes, my imagination went into overdrive.  Imagine an army of warriors, frozen into rocks. We also stopped at Antelope Canyon, which further sparked my whole "fairies" theory. A tourist trap? Absolutely. Beautiful? Breathtaking. I could so see fairies living in that cave, carving the swirls in the walls and diving in the flood waters. Imagine a fairy, caught in the draft of an airplane and carried out of their natural habitat. How would they get back? How would they survive in an "alien" environment?

Other trips have inspired mention in my stories as well. I visited Scotland, which makes a cameo in Living Canvas. I was intrigued by the melaleuca trees in Fort Lauderdale, trees that were imported to help dry out the Everglades until they discovered the trees were working a little too well. The trees were interesting to see, and they had an interesting story behind them. And sometimes it is the history behind something that makes it intriguing. On my bucket list? Easter Island.

Sometimes a location inspires me before I've had the opportunity to visit. When I wrote Touched by the Sun/The Treasure of St. Paul, I'd never been to Italy, but I'd done many research papers on Pompeii. Because I hadn't visited, I had to do interviews and see other peoples' home videos or vacation photos. I did EXTENSIVE research. Ten years after the original publication date, I'm actually going to visit! You can watch for my comparison of the real experience to what I wrote when I do a guest blog for one of my writer friends, Terry Odell (I promise to post details on where to read that when the time comes!)

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