Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finding Your Muse in Nature

Whether you are a writer or embrace another type of creativity, nature can provide so much for you and your muse.

I live on a mountain, and behind my house is a thick forest with walking trails, either made by other people, deer or the teenagers who love 4-Wheeling through it. Yesterday I went for a hike with my sister, who happens to have photography as her art of choice. While walking we both seemed to be in a world of our own.

The purpose of our hike besides getting some fresh air and exercise was to see if we could find anything for a collaborative project we're working on. It's called Abandoned. She's doing the photography and I'm doing the writing. Needless to say this forest held a plethora of ideal photos and writing ingredients.

We found an old canal and bridge, and when I say old I mean early 1800's. The stone work was amazing, covered in moss and with trees and ivy climbing all over it. The once thick waters were now a creek, and above the canal/bridge were the remains of an old railroad. The only way you'd even know was the neatly cut thick peices of wood jutting from the ground where they'd long since been buried.

Were there ever raiders racing on horseback shooting their guns alongside the train?
About 50 yards away was a new railroad. Beside the railroad was an abandoned campfire. Who was warming themselves there? I don't know but my mind certainly went to town trying to figure it out.

We found an old tricycle covered in rust, its bright red paint long since chipped away.

As we walked home I asked my sister if she could imagine living in the woods just like they did in the olden days. No electricity, going to the canal to wash up or gather water for cooking. Hiking through the woods searching for berries, nuts or crab apples. Carrying our long barreled shotgun to get that nights meat for stew. She laughed at me and told me no she couldn't, and I had a very vivid imagination. I rolled my eyes, this was coming from a girl who can set up a set up a stage with models and props to take the most compelling, heartwrenching or horrifying pictures you can imagine... I have goosebumps just thinking about her last project, Destroyed.

I guess we have a different type of muse and our imaginations run in different directions. But there is no doubt we both gathered much from our little hike in the woods. If I could, I would drag my desk and laptop out there and write beside that canal. Somehow I don't think that will ever happen...

I encourage you to talk a walk in nature. You never know what can happen.

9 comments:

  1. I, too, love the mountains. Seeing the sky glow with colors without names as the sun rises or sets. The utter silence when you enter a woodland area and the wild things wonder at your intent.

    I think muses live there, frolicking with the fairies and gnomes. They wait for us to venture among them, glad that we reciprocated their visits to us. So glad, they gift us with insights profound in their simplicity.

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  2. I also live in the mountains surrounded by trees. Nature's constant change and riches are someting I treasure. I love writing historicals and often think of the pioneers that came before me in the land so blessed with riches. Yes, I do use what I see, feel and hear in my stories as another character.

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  3. What a lovely column! I also live near nature--over 2,000 acres of State Game Lands. I like to walk there just to listen to the silence. Sometimes you can't even hear an airplane overhead. That's when I really know I'm close to the heart of everything.

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  4. Thanks for the comment Miriam. I love the absolute silence of nature. It's very calming.

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  5. Out doors is always where I like to be. I used to run outside (now on a tredmill) but that is where my best ideas came from. They don't do that anymore since I run in my garage. (how unromantic.)

    Thank you for your great post. I have to make more of an effort to get out and hike, or walk, or ride, too!!

    Hugs,
    ~Caroline

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  6. Michelle, nature is such an inspiration. Thanks for writing it and reminding us how our surroundings as writers are our inspirations.

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  7. Thank you for your comment Caroline! I hear ya, I work out at the gym, and while I sometimes get inspiration from my surroundings, (ie the hunky guy to the left lifting 250 pound weights, ***shiver***) lol, nature always help me write the ACTUAL story :)

    Thank you Denisse! Anytime!

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  8. Eliza, what a beautiful blog! It made me wish I could dash away right now and go wondering somewhere far away from NYC where I'm currently ensconced. I love writing out of doors. I'm a lover of the cold, so I can sit out even in the late fall and write. Watching the world around me is never a distraction. Rather it is a work of creation in the bosom of which I am crafting my own creations. I have had the good fortune to visit many country places. Woods, lakes, and old, old towns and buildings. It seems to me that there is something "more" in the air at those places. An extra energy or vitality that gives me a little zing. How can someone not be inspired when sitting in a Revolutionary war graveyard and reading the names of people who lived hundred of years ago? Or of visiting the bedroom of my great, great aunt, who had lived during the Civil War, and picking up her combs, her paintbrushes, touching her dresses? Energy lives and it lives abundantly in nature.

    Thank you for sharing your own experiences!

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  9. Thanks for stopping by Lise! Isn't it amazing that sense of energy you feel? I always think maybe its just me, but I feel it running through me and I just could sing, if I had a voice. Instead I just write :) That is awesome that you have something historical like that in your family. I went on a trip to Ireland several years ago and visited the town my family was from. We visited the graveyard, and seeing the graves of family members that lived hundreds of years ago made me speechless.

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