24 November 2009

where are you from?

Seattle skyline
Originally uploaded by ricknsherri

Over the last year, I have visited the Seattle area a number of times to do some geographic research for the current novel in progress. It's a beautiful area - sky, water, city and trees.

During this last trip, my husband and I stayed right on Lake Union and went out exploring in all directions. South on the Alaskan Way viaduct to White Center and then west from Burien to the Puget Sound, Ed Munro Seahurst Park. Up Queen Anne Hill for a view at Kerry Park. North across the Fremont Bridge and into the Ballard area for breakfast at The Dish. Dinner at Ivar's Acres of Clams on the waterfront where a big bird flew up to the wharf, maybe a pelican or heron.

My husband spent part of his childhood in this area. He shared the traditional family outing trip with me - east to Issaquah and Boehm's Candies, where they still have exceptional chocolates, but no more Saint Bernards. We drank frosty mugs of their specialty at XXX Rootbeer and then went out to Snoqualmie Falls. The lodge, once with the same name as the falls, is now called Salish Lodge.

I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost 15 years now and realize I've gained something that was always missing throughout my nomadic childhood and youth. This place of trees and rain, shades of green and gray, convergence of rivers, Sound and sea has given me roots and a place to call home.


More photos of this trip are posted on Flickr:

25 October 2009

music is my muse

At least one of them. For me, music comes from the same place as my writing. It evokes the same emotive response in a way that beautiful writing moves me. I would consider it the highest level of achievement to touch that place of music with my words.

Luciano Pavarotti embodied that place of words and music and bore its beauty to the world. He will be forever revered. This is his last public performance at the Opening Ceremony of the 2007 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. I am moved to tears each time I watch this performance.

I am forever indebted to my parents for bringing music into our home. My father recorded countless hours of classical music on reel-to-reel from the USAF base library where we were stationed in Tacoma before we went overseas. I grew up with Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Dvorak, Bach, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Beethoven - from the classics to the obscure. And my mother enforced the daily 30-minute piano practice that gifted me with a tactile connection to the music we heard every day. It was how I first heard the muse that inspired me to write at all.


10 October 2009

what's real - what's not

Spending a lot of time lately fact checking. If you write a story into a real setting, I think you have a responsibility to make sure you get the real parts right.

Questions like did it really snow in Redmond Christmas 1981? Where would a brand new U.S. Marine go to boot camp if he enlisted in Seattle? And would said same new Marine be hot or cold on August 17, 1990 as he arrived on his new assignment? Or who won the Super Bowl in 1982? (I admit, that's a cheater one because I remember when it happened.)

Today I watched some classic NFL footage. Read stats from all kinds of places, online and that old traditional method: books. Spent some time talking to my USMC cousin in D.C. with some real-life experience in the Gulf War. Read some historical TIME magazine articles. Googled "Scud Bowl." Watched part of a George Clooney movie.

Over the last couple of months, my husband has had to field a whole lot of random questions. As if I was the 3-year old he needed to revisit: do the schools close in Tam O' Shanter if it snows? can you find me a 24-year old weather report? 25-year? what high school did those kids attend? when you were a kid, did you see a Steller's jays or just scrub jays? was there a fence around the golf course? what kind?

Confounded by so many notebooks of so many facts, I have been writing around and around the story today. Perhaps sleep will bring it all together into an intuitive informing of character for tomorrow.

Or perhaps I'll just have that dream, like my daughter, where I am really hungry and the refrigerator is full of only one thing: eggs. Cartons and cartons of eggs.

Analyze that.