So I was recently back home in the good ol’ US of A, which was very exciting because I hadn’t left the Asian continent in 8 months. I went back for a sad reason, a funeral in Maryland (and that road trip was a whole different pilgrimage) but while I was there I made the most of it!
So I’m co-authoring a book set in one of my hometowns; I say “one of” because I moved around growing up and as an adult, so I guess I don’t have like a hometown. This particular hometown is what I call my “high school” hometown. We moved to Sparta, Wisconsin when I was in 8th grade. I graduated high school Sparta High. My parents lived there until a few years ago. So Sparta has a population under 10,000; it’s just west of the Mississippi River, surrounded by coulees and ridges and corn fields and barns and cows. Self-proclaimed bicycling capitol of America.
So I had a free couple days while friends and family where at work, and access to a car, so I decided to go on a photographic journey. In my novels, I like to have a strong sense of place. I also wanted to get re-acquainted with the culture. I say “culture” because living abroad has definitely convinced me that A) the US has a culture B) Wisconsin has a culture C) rural v. urban Wisconsin have different cultures.
So in the title of this post, I said “not so epic” pilgrimage, but I guess really it was kind of epic because, to get back to Wisconsin, I did have to travel 21 hours on three planes. Don’t get me started about the way back to Singapore! To make the trip back to Sparta MORE epic, I decided to take back roads to get there. It helped me transition my brain back into a more rural place, plus it’s just a pretty drive. So here’s the photographic part one of my epic pilgrimage for Rafa & Rose, the drive back to Sparta. There are lots of barns and it’s also corn harvesting season (the corn used for animal feed, I believe). Not going to lie, I actually have a thing for barns. I enjoy photographing them, even though I never lived on a farm. A lot of the farm equipment photos are taken just outside Sparta.
And just for fun, an Amish farm and Amish buggies hanging outside Aldi’s. I passed a few buggies as I was driving, too!
Stay tuned for (Not so) epic pilgramage for my WIP, part 2. Probably to be released tomorrow.
Writer friends, what do you do to get a sense of place in your own mind for your novels? How do you capture it on the page?