There’s an old cliché about never being able to go home again. I’m sure there’s some deep-seated message embedded there, but it escapes me.
Recently, I made a trip to my home state of Rhode Island and learned that, while we may not be able to go home again, we can visit and rediscover parts of our past, both good and bad. These parts can add new insights into who we are and why we may be that way. And how we can change going forward.
These discoveries can also fuel our writing. I left Rhode Island nearly twenty years ago. On our recent trip, I recaptured an image, one I thought I’d long forgotten. Then I remembered I used this sense of fog and stillness in my novel Riverbend Reunion to bring the setting alive through my hero Michael Archer’s eyes.
One of my favorite mystery writers, Elizabeth George, describes in her book Write Away how she takes pictures of houses and landscapes to bring her story world to life.
I found myself doing this on this last trip. Maybe I can write the whole trip off as research for a novel.
One of the iconic sights in Rhode Island is a village called Narragansett Pier. It is distinguished by the building shown here that arches over the main drive. I know this will find its way into a book at some point.
The joy of rediscovery comes in the memories the sights and sounds and smells stir. There’s no aroma like that of a salt pond at low tide. It’s not a pleasant odor. But it is one I’ll never forget nor will I forget the memory of hunting for crabs and clams in shallow water. Or the crab who latched onto my little toe when I wasn’t looking.
I came away from this trip with a new found appreciation of my home state and the richness it can add to my stories. And I’m more alert to the world around me and how I can use it to add flavorful detail to what I write.
What have you rediscovered that you can bring into your current writing?
I am so happy to see you fulfilling your lifelong dream and purpose. You and I go way back to DCYF after I worked on the other side of the aisle, Child Protective Services. I left DCYF in September 1997 to prepare for the blessing of my child, a son, Zachary Michael Manni born on 11-7-97. I have followed you for years and would love you to know how greatly you influenced me, personally, professionally and spiritually and as a parent. I think you will be quite surprised to know that I applied most of your words to raising my son.I have told him much about you and he knows that my lessons learned from you have shaped my parenting and he continues to live those lessons. I have also carried a need to leave you proud of me. I would greatly appreciate a private means to share with you what you gifted me and my child over the last twenty years. I’m quite certain that they would (anonymously) make your next book.
Fondly, Sherrie Manni
Thanks for getting in touch me. DCYF seems so long ago now.
You can contact me privately by going to the About page on my website and clicking on Contact from the dropdown menu.