Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Being there

It is so hard to put myself in the feet and heart and mind of a 21 year old woman on a train to California in 1928. I've got 900 hard fought words. Seems like each word took an hour.

We're planning a California trip this summer and I have high hopes that the trip will be the cattle prod that ignites this novel.

When I wrote about Burning Man, I had been there--tasted the dust, heard the techno beat, experienced the craziness, and when I wanted to write, I could conjure it up from my brain and memories to the keyboard. When I wrote about the sailboat in the fog on the Baltic I recalled the sailing trips in Long Island Sound, and the fog going into Cuttyhunk, and it all came back and became the Baltic. BEING THERE.

When I wrote about the funky Berlin neighborhoods, I had been there, sitting on the bar stool, roaming the streets, seeing, smelling, listening, feeling.

I haven't been to Southern California for years, and the books about it keep piling up, but nothing will substituting for BEING THERE.

I wrote about a float plane trip in the Adironacks, but not until I had flown on one. Same for the Molotov Cocktail in the Charles boatyard. I took endless photos, and stared down into the water, and observed the coromant, saw the floating upside down coke bottle, got the details and the explosion and fire just came. BEING THERE.

When I set scenes in Singapore and Hong Kong, I had been there. So, California, here I come. In the meantime, write the scene and leave a note to fill in the details. And keep reading.

Being There.

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