Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crossing Bright Angel

Do you travel to write or write to travel? I think I've written about this before but am not sure - I cannot keep my main characters in their home province of Nova Scotia. I start them out there but sooner or later they hit the road - oh except for the Kitty MacDonald mysteries - she just travels about the province but doesn't go out of it...yet.
On June first I started a new book and it has been delicious to drop into a completely new set of characters' lives and see the world through them. I set it in a fictitious town far down the South Shore of Nova Scotia - Ketch Creek I call it. Lou, 48, grew up there, as did her daughters, Emma and Pinky. About four chapters in the three of them flew to Albuquerque, rented a car and have been on a crazed road trip ever since (I'm on about page 140).
Yesterday or the day before they got to the Grand Canyon. So far I've been everywhere they've been but I think they are travelling down into the canyon to see Bright Angel Creek (thus the title).
I went to the Grand Canyon with my parents and my brother and sister. I think it was 1964 - we were living in Colorado Springs and went across to San Jose to visit my aunt and uncle there. It was a great trip- my parents had secretly decided that they would stop at any roadside attraction we wanted to go to. We saw the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Kit Carson's hide-out and so on...
I miss this car!
I think that I liked the Grand Canyon but not like I would now. First of all I was working on my dark teenage angst and stuck with embarrassing family wearing pedal-pushers and reading Betty & Veronica in the back of the station-wagon was enough.
Now? I am so jonesing to go. I want to do everything these guys are. I've been researching and the more I do the more I want to go. I want to check out if my theory that when you first see the canyon your essential nature rises to the fore and you reveal it for all in listening range. My mum, for instance, said upon viewing this wonder, "they should put a fence around this". My dad, with much more humour than seriousness, said, "well kids, you've seen one Grand Canyon, you've seen 'em all. Back in the car."
Today I will be going 'beyond the monsters' - that refers to those old maps where the cartographers put sea monsters at the edges because no one had gone there before. I'm going to travel with my gang down to the canyon floor and see what I see there. Wish me luck.
How does travel or the desire for travel influence your writing?


Liza said...

A long time ago I was talking to someone from Australia who had traveled the Far East, Europe and America. I asked what the most amazing thing he saw along the way was, and his answer was the Grand Canyon. I've never been. Someday...
I think anytime I go someplace different, it gives the writing a lift. I need to get away soon!

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - Interesting question! I have incorporated some of my own personal "travel adventures" into some of my stuff. And interestingly enough, one of my novels takes place away from my protag's normal "haunt." I think when it's done carefully it can add to a series to have a main character do some travelling. And in one's personal life, there's nothing like travel for enrichment and perspective.

anarchist said...
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