Monday, June 10, 2013


We just returned from twenty-three days in Ireland and England.  It was a dream trip from childhood, but also one I'd long hoped to take as a research opportunity.

One can Google details, look at the photos in coffee table books, and talk to people who live in another country, but its never quite the same as actually being there and experiencing that country, culture and terrain.

When you travel, are you sometimes surprised by the little differences you hadn't expected?  A different city...another state...a different region of your country...the accents, the terminology for basic things, the general vibe can be so unique.  For instance, in all of Ireland, at restaurants, hotels and B&Bs, we found brown sugar, white sugar and raw sugar available on the table for coffee, but no artificial sweetener...and in both countries, "mushy peas " were the standard addition to every order of fish and chips.  We have never seen that in the USA!

While on our trip, I took pages and pages of notes for the future, and took thousands of digital photographs (hoping for a few that would turn out all right!) and tried to absorb the details and the differences we discovered while traveling, hoping to better flavor a book proposal later on.

I was charmed by some of the signs we "Polite Request: No Parking Here"  in an English village, and I was a bit overwhelmed and saddened by the many political murals on the sides of buildings in Belfast, which really brought home the anguish and intensity of the past Irish troubles.
The impact of hearing about it from afar and seeing the many well-tended memorials displayed today are indeed, worlds apart.

And I never thought we'd actually see gypsies--real ones--camped along the side of a road in England! With horses!  We'd passed by earlier in the day, and their horses were staked out to graze along the road...then found them hitched up and ready to move on when we passed by later.
All of these things could someday flavor or even inspire a new story idea.

And for a story idea farther back in time, the tombs and marble effigies in the crypt below Christ Church in Dublin could provide a lot of ideas.   Take a look at the figures standing around the deceased in the marble effigy.

Just the positions and expressions seem to reveal very different emotions in these people....from the mourning woman and supportive person at her side, to the casual stance of the man at the right...idly waiting to take over the man's title and lands?  Maybe not, in real life, but my mind started to come up with all sorts of possible scenarios.

Writers draw from their own experiences, the news and their research when coming up with  settings, characters and details for their stories.

Even if you aren't a writer, where have you been that seemed perfect for inspiring a story?  Or are there current events that would seem like a good basis for novel?  What type of stories (and settings) do you like to read the most?

All the best,
Roxanne Rustand

No comments:

Post a Comment