Monday, August 17, 2009
Finding inspiration far from home
My family and I are on vacation in Washington D.C. this week, tromping through all the major museums and monuments. Despite 95-degree heat and 100-percent humidity, I'm having fun seeing everything with my art-major daughter. The two of us--she with her sketch book, I with my notebook--have been recording our observations of the city. Most of my notes have little to do with the impressive sights all around us. They have more to do with the rhythm and flow of the city: The jazz quartets that seem to be playing on every street corner, the surprising curtness of the service people who work in this tourism-oriented town, the scary speed of a subway train as it rushes through a long, black tunnel. In the Natural History Museum, I spent an inordinate amount of time in an exhibit about forensic anthropology, taking notes about every aspect of how scientists can determine information about a person's life from his bones, even hundreds of years after his death. Someday I'm sure, that information will come in handy in a story.
I love they way leaving home helps me jar loose a little creative inspiration. It seems so easy to see foreign locales with fresh eyes. How about you? Have you been anywhere this summer that has served as an inspiration for your writing? Have you ever gotten a story idea from a trip you've taken?