Where I write

Where I write

May 23, 2011

Imaginative Help

So I was in Denver recently and finally got a chance to visit the Denver Art Museum. The first thing I saw were these cows grazing in front of the museum. They didn't seem to mind that the grass was wet and the day was chilly. In fact, they didn't even notice when I took their photo.

There is a scene in my novel where my two main characters meet at the art museum. One wonderfully dreary (I get enough sun here in Arizona) I drove to downtown Denver to visit the museum I'd known only from tourist brochures and the Internet. At first, I thought why bother taking my time and money to go there. I can just look up any information I need for my novel on line. But I really wanted to see this museum, knowing there must be things that would fuel my imagination. Now it's not always possible, or practical, for novel writers to physically visit every location mentioned in their books. If you write science fiction, it's likely impossible. Still, if I am to write about a place, I want to have actually been there. I have a difficult time writing about a place I've never been. Until I go to Europe, for example, I'll never set a scene there. At least for me, once I have visited a place, I can make imaginative alterations to suit my story.

This giant dust bin and broom was
in front of the museum. What a hoot. I had known about the unusual architecture of the museum, but seeing it for myself, standing close to all the unusual angles, gave me a feel for the place that no brochure or Internet research could have matched. Now when I write the scene with my characters, I am able to put in much richer detail. By having the opportunity to visit the places I write about, I am able to indulge in my two favorite passions -- traveling and writing. I can thing of no better way to spend my time on this earth.

This is  a photo of my friend's cabin. I am putting this in not because it is mentioned in my novel, but because this picture was taken in mid-May. Living in Arizona, where by May everyone is wearing flip flops and shorts, it was a thrill to have the chance to watch snow pile up on the Evergreen trees, see it fall in silver-dollar sized flakes, and attempt to make a snow man. There is no snow man in this photo. I tried, but failed. I have forgotten that you need just the right type of snow to make snowmen. I was warned this snow was too wet. I tried, but my snowman turned into a big blob. Still, I can use my failed attempt at a snowman because you never know when a snowman might pop up in my work. Writers are much like that broom and dust bin in front of Denver Art Museum. We are always looking for little bits and pieces that we might collect and deposit into a story. Nothing we do or see or feel is ever wasted on us. It's all fodder for our imaginations. 


Rita A. said...

Yes. Nothing beats being there.
I didn't see the cows when we were there but I got a big kick out of the giant chair. That building, or maybe it was the library?, was really amazing but that point seemed like lots of wasted space.

Glad you enjoyed your trip. We've missed you.

Anonymous said...

Art museums are such wonderful inspiration! Last summer I went to both the Phoenix Art Museum and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I took so many notes I went through a couple of pens! Artists feed of other artists, I suppose. :-)

Museums and cabins? Sounds like something good to me!

SunsetCindi said...

What a cool museum or cold one! I agree that it's a lot easier to write about a place that you've been, versus just seeing it in pictures. Good for you for slogging through the dreary weather in the name of Art!

Jules said...

TADA! I read it! It's fun, like you're writing a letter to a friend, only sending it out in a big batch instead of mailing one envelope. Tell Juan I will HIRE him to shop for/with me! Oh, I want to lose weight first (says the girl who just ate a BLT with mayo)... I'll try to save this blogsite in my favorites, but I can't remember how.