Thursday, August 10, 2017

I'm Ready To Go! by Sydney Salter

I love, love, LOVE to travel because experiencing new places enhances my two other favorite things: reading and writing.

I usually try to read something related to my destination. My daughter is heading into her senior year, so all of our recent travel has involved a small liberal arts college - or four. Last fall a trip to  Minnesota prompted me to read Sinclair Lewis' Main Street, a delightful novel that brought texture and history to the small towns we visited. I also made a point to read more F. Scott Fitzgerald, making the drive past his old house in St. Paul a particular thrill. I also try to bring home a few books with local flavor to read later - and that's when the real delight of travel comes. I love being able to really picture a city that I have experienced myself. I think it also helps my writing to see how other writers use location in their storytelling.

Sometimes I work on fiction while I travel. Part of the search for a great college fit has involved finding the cutest coffee shop in town. If only the love for a cute coffee shop always correlated with the love for the college! I've enjoyed adding to my WIP while my daughter keeps up on homework. Most of the time when I travel, I leave my WIP simmering, and limit my writing to my daily diary entry. I can't pretend that these are polished words - but it's always enough to spark the richer memory of some detail I might otherwise forget. Most trips - even to a liberal arts college in the middle of Ohio - lead me to some sort of story idea or potential character. That's the best part of travel - so many new experiences, so many new ideas.

I feel certain that any corner of the world, seen for the first time, will inspire a writer.

8 comments:

  1. Recently when I went to Bath, England, I took along Jane Austen's PERSUASION for the reasons you discuss.

    Re MAIN STREET, isn't it great? I think it can really speak to our current red state / blue state divide.

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    1. I completely agree about Main Street - and I can't wait to read Jane Austen in England someday!

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  2. One fun aspect of visiting new places is imagining what you'll encounter before going and comparing reality with imagination afterward.

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    1. That's so true! I sure had misconceptions about the midwest!

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  3. Sydney: waving to you from Minnesota! I'm still in the world of college visits, but we're on the go CONSTANTLY on those trips, so reading is beyond impossible. So is working on manuscripts. Oh, well! Good times regardless.

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    1. My daughter loved Carleton. Best of luck with your college visits too!

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  4. I love the idea of immersing yourself in reads about an area before you go!

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  5. Ah, I remember those college visits fondly. She'll find the place that's right for her -- hopefully with a coffee shop that's right for you (when you visit).

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