Saturday, June 11, 2011

Location, destination, expectation

Location, destination, expectation
For those of you who have only known me in a world of consulting, and business suits with college degrees and a fabulous wardrobe, it surprise to you to know, that I come from a vastly different world. It’s smaller in some ways, but better in others; it’s quiet at times, serene to the point of longing for an afternoon nap, but warm and nurturing when you feel the heat of the sun on your neck or the breeze at your shoulder. It’s one of blue collar roots that run deep and keep me grounded, even in the midst of traffic on K Street, or sitting on the beltway after a long morning meeting. Those roots stay with me and feed me inspiration.
In literature, as in life, we are shaped by our experiences, and our characters reflect those moments. They live out the fantasy of the situation, good, bad, or fatal, while we simply watch from afar, remembering or imagining the outcome. When I was writing about Salem it didn’t become authentic until I went there. The feel, the smell, the experience was missing from my words. I’ve always heard write what you know, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to write what I wanted to know, to change who I was, in order to create something amazing on the page. I wanted to feel the chill of the Salem swirling around me as I stood outside the old Town Hall, so I went there and stood in the cold air.
This weekend is no different. Right now I’m interested in learning about root working, and the people who to it for my second book. I want to understand their tie to the ground, the vegetation, and the power that comes from the earth. So, I’ve done my research and this time tomorrow I will be on a boat in Kentucky, floating across a lake toward Cumberland River. And as the peacefulness of the bluegrass state calls to me I’ll be taking in the beauty of the world around me.  Deep in the lush green, watching the sway of the tree, I’ll be channeling my inner Mark Twain, and dreaming up my own Huckleberry Finn. Signing off for a week from the internet...
"We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft."
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twai

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