Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writing Inspiration Whilst on Holiday

It won't surprise you to find out that I've come back from my vacation with all sorts of writing possibilities in my head. 

I don't find Hawaii itself to be inspiring, like I did the desert Southwest of our Christmas 2012 trip.  I came back with some poem ideas that led to some poems that surprised me, and I wrote a short story that one of my writing friends declared my best ever.  That short story was in some ways inspired by the poems I was writing.

Would I have had any of them without that trip?  Hard to say.

One thing I love about a cross-continental airline flight in the daylight is the view of the land below.  I love the way the land changes from verdant green to what I know to be prairies to the harsh landscape of the desert.

On this trip, my spouse had just read a book about the Comanche, who spent much of their lives, if they were male, on horseback following the buffalo, making their way through an unforgiving land.  We talked a bit about that, while looking down at lakes that are clearly drained of most of their water.  I may try writing a poem that uses some of these images.

I'm also interested in the shapes from the air: human-made things follow a rigid geometry, while things like lakes and rivers seem much more fluid and softly-shaped.

I expected to keep seeing images and possible poems once the plane landed, but instead, my brain went to short stories.  I thought that a connection of linked stories could be cool.

What would link the characters?  The resort where they work.

I wouldn't want it to be an upstairs-downstairs kind of book.  What do I mean by that?  A short story about a resort guest followed by a story about the cleaning staff.  That seems too clichéd. 

As we moved through the week, I thought about how many other lives that resort touches:  the dive instructor and the guy who works on the boat.  The astronomer who shows guests the stars which are in different positions in the sky (the North star is only directly above you if you're in the Arctic--did I ever learn that?).  The photographer who schedules photo shoots with the guests.  The pilot who takes people up in a glider, and the staff on the ground--while my sister was up in the glider for 20 minutes, we stayed on the landing strip talking to the guy who works on the planes while working to get his pilot's license.  The surfers who formed a company that teaches tourists to surf.

Could I make these kinds of stories fresh and new?  Or would it begin to seem repetitive?  I'm not sure, but I wanted to capture this idea before it slid away as I returned to regular life.

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