I talked a few days back about finding inspiration in music. In my current WIP that I’m working on for the New Voices contest, place more than music is my inspiration.
When I was growing up, my family moved around quite a bit. Most people I knew grew up in one place, in one or two houses, with very little change. That wasn’t the case for me. Honestly, when I look back at my childhood there isn’t a place that I would call my one true “home.” But there were two constants for me and those two places were my grandparent’s houses.
My father’s parents live in small-town Iowa. They own the farmhouse that was built around the turn of the century. Though it is now dilapidated and unlivable, we still like to go out and hear stories about what it once was.
My mother’s parents live in rural Iowa. My grandmother has since passed away, but my grandfather is still there. Though it’s rural, this isn’t a farm I’m talking about, it’s an airport. My Grandpa’s airport. His passion is antique aviation, and he has made that his business.
Because both these places were my constant growing up, and also for reasons I’m not sure I totally understand, these places continue to serve as inspiration. I have a hard time not setting my stories in Iowa, because that is where my imagination was honed. I daydreamed about living in those places, of having those places be my home, and even now they hold magic for me.
My current WIP is set on a model of my Grandpa’s airport. It’s a unique setting, but it has served as my inspiration because while I don’t share a passionate interest in aviation, the airport and what it stands for is at the core of the types of stories I write. Family, passion, love, and hard work.
In A River Runs Through It Norman Maclean writes, “I am haunted by waters.” I feel similar about these places of constancy in my childhood. They have stuck with me and when I create a story, inevitably pieces of those places are wrapped up in that story.