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?