Dear readers and writers,
During a short trip In July, I will explore both my own roots in North Carolina and some of the implications of Cherokee Culture and History in a course at Cherokee, NC. I will also get to interview a member of the Lumbee tribe who was there for the Hayes Pond Battle when the Ku Klux Klan was defeated resoundingly by the Lumbees. It will be a trip full of resonance for me personally and for me as the author of a novel-in-progress set in North Carolina and called Not North.
Some time ago, I started this blog thinking a lot about how location affects personality, development, reactions to life events. This next location-bath is sure to help me recreate the North Carolina of the 1950-1960 period when my novel occurs. It’s also likely to affect my own ways of being. I recently read some thoughts from Terry Tempest Williams on effects on her of her Salt Lake City location, which I’d like to quote here:
“Each horizon, each place holds its own evolutionary power be it the prairie or the plateaus, the mountains or the marshes at Great Salt Lake. For me, this is the nature of peace. Our task is to learn how to see it, feel it, hear it, and care for these places as our own home ground….Our intimacy with the land becomes our intimacy with each other. Hands on the Earth, we remember and reconnect with a power beyond ourselves. We are humbled.”
I go with open mind and heart, and I am sure I’ll hear the land and water telling me their secrets, as they did when I lived there growing up.
Have you reconnected with your early roots in landscape, water, people, plants, animals? How did you feel?
Hi readers and writers,
When I was a kid in North Carolina, I loved milkweed pods in the late summer and fall. They opened and out came many individual dark brown, tear-shaped seeds, each with a round fluffy ball of miraculous shiny rays of fiber to float it away on the breeze. I could play with one pod of milkweeds for hours.
Now, I’ve joined a group trying to plant milkweeds at homes, since farmers no longer have them in the verges (they are easily killed by the Roundup type herbicides used by today’s farmers). Monarch butterflies are in the crosshairs of global climate change, losing their ability to go and come from wintering sites in Mexico to their northern summelands. They are off course and bewildered, because where are the milkweeds they need to lay their eggs upon? That’s the only thing their growing larvae will eat, but where are they? It’s wonderful to be able to help these butterflies survive by re-living a gorgeous milkweed experience from my distant past. Here’s to milkweeds and butterflies, long may they fly!
Hi friends of reading and writing,
Do you enjoy the setting details in reading or do you skip over them? I’ve heard both from friends who read a lot. I enjoy setting details myself, so I can go over the top in writing about them. I have to remind myself about music, films, other good time markers, but when it comes to water, I can write a book on that alone.
Watching water is one of my favorite mind-regenerating activities. It looks remarkably like doing nothing, I admit that. But the colors change, reflect the sky’s moods, show more or less reflection of the shore depending on the wind and current and the sun’s position. And the water can be its own color. I posted a photo of a great blue heron at Newport Back Bay on FB. People liked it, commented on their experiences with this bird. Since I’m writing about North Carolina’s lowland rivers and swamps, I said that for my setting in current writing, the water should be tes-brown or black. Shiny like coal, great at reflecting egrets but great at hiding herons. I just hope that the color of water means something to my readers someday. It means a lot to my protagonist, Holly McLain, growing up into an environmental activist in North Carolina, then California.
What do you feel about settings in your writing and in your reading?
Hi readers and writers,
This is the last day for this year’s alphabetaphilia so if you’re still enthused about alliteration, feel free to go back to any letter you’d like and add a sentence using 5 words starting with that letter on Feb 27 and Feb 28 or any other day you visit the blog.
Here’s a zebra, Equus quagga to scientists,a favorite photo from Creative Commons, to inspire you today to find 5 z-words, use in a sentence, and post in comments. The coat of the zebra has to be one of the wonders of the world. If you watch a herd gallop by in real life or in TV, the optical movement is overpowering.