Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Introduction: Insinuating myself into writers’ homes

Not anywhere near as rude as it sounds, since all of the writers have passed away and their homes have been established as museums and opened to the public. Visiting the homes is just an excuse anyway, a jumping off place for doing stuff that’s fun for me and thinking and writing about a variety of topics. 

Here’s my basic approach: 

Planning the trips is half the fun. Uncovering the homes and researching what other points of interest are in the area and of course what interesting places to eat I might visit in my travels. I’ll visit a good handful of places for this first series, but many house museums close for the winter, so I won’t be able to visit all the places I’d like to go—I’ll leave those for a second series sometime next spring perhaps. 

And then there’s the unplanning—the fun (if you look at all this as an adventure as I do) of adjusting when part of the plan doesn’t work out. Staying open to the unexpected means stumbling over points of interest that I didn’t know were there and adding a whole new element to the day. 

Recruiting friends to accompany me on these day trips has definitely been part of the fun. Each of them adds an ingredient that would be missing otherwise. 

The personalities of the writers themselves, who are always present in spirit, influence my experiences. Imagining them in their living and working spaces, seeing how their domestic lives complement or contradict their writings, learning a bit about how their characters fulfill or fall short of the images of them that have come down to us as their legacy. 

Thinking about books and how they fit in to these adventures. Books by the writers whose homes I’m visiting and other books as well—and perhaps the occasional movie. 

And then there’s just me. My mind sometimes works in mysterious ways, so you’d better expect a tangential riff here and there. You’ve been warned. 

My aim was to launch this adventure the first week of September and post once a week, but I fell short there on the reading and writing side because I was so busy on the field tripping side. So I’ll be posting a bit more frequently to start until I catch up. I'm sure it will take me a while to get the hang of this.

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