Posted by Lynne
Salt mist accompanies me on my way to work. As I walk down the hill to my office, depending on the weather, I'm either greeted by low-slung fog stalled over gray water or cerulean waves rocking the boats that dot the inner harbor. I live in a beautiful seaside town south of Boston.
But I vacation in Maine.
There, the lake is predictably glassy and calm until a jet ski burps by or a pontoon glides past the wooden dock on it's jaunt around the lake. Then a handful of ripples complain their way toward shore. One, two, three; they hit the piney shoreline, and then the lake resumes it's nap.
Everyone, from family member to client to friend, who sees where I live and work asks me, "Why would you ever need to go on vacation?" It's true I'm blessed to live in a glorious place. The east coast of Massachusetts is for many their top vacation destination. Chickadees and mourning doves announce morning, hydrangeas and salt water perfume the air. Swimming is for the brave or those who attempt it in August, hoping the sun's rays have worked their magic to keep the headache from reaching your feet.
For me, Maine is my family's respite, we all go and we all adore it. We bring piles of books, ban technology and spend hours in, on and around the lake. My week in Maine is also my annual writer's retreat, though I rarely write when I visit.
In this lakes region, one I've come to love and I admit think about frequently for the fifty-one weeks a year I'm not there, nurtures the writer in me. I don't attend workshops, or complete writing exercises. I don't read like a writer or even read about writing. Instead I drink in my surroundings. Loons wail well into the night, pine essence is everywhere you walk, it wafts through the air and crunches under your feet. The cool water isn't just for courageous swimmers, it's for early morning canoe rides with my husband, and afternoon games of four-way frisbee and diving off the dock.
My vacation is a time to spend precious moments with the people I hold most dear, that's for sure. It's also a time I use to notice the world anew, to savor the things I take for granted in my fast-paced everyday life. When I hear the cry of the loons, it helps me appreciate the mourning doves that line the phone wires outside my farmers' porch back home. When I breath deep the smell of pine, I'm more able to conjure the sea mist that surrounds me on those mornings I race to the office.
New locations have the power to awaken my senses and this heightened sensitivity, like a gift, gives me details for my writing. Specific, multi-sensory details; ones I'll use here and there to make my writing authentic, to bring readers into my story.
What do you do to make your writing authentic? Have you taken a field trip that provided you with details to treasure?
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Posted by Lynne