Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A sense of place

First. Heroes. I was really excited about this show when my friend John mentioned it after ComiCon last summer. It's right up my alley – the intersection of the fantastic and the mundane and how it affects people's lives It's the type of thing I love to write about. Plus – super powers! How cool is that? But I haven't watched a single episode. If it were on at 8 and not 9, I might actually watch, but I'm an old lady now who's usually asleep by 8:45 at night. I don't watch enough TV to warrant getting Tivo, so I'll just wait until the DVD is released and I can get it from NetFlix. How sad am I?

OK, what I really wanted to talk about today: yesterday the Endicott Studio blog featured a very cool project: Memory Maps. The goal of the program is to investigate the relationship between place and the creativity and unique works that emerge as people are affected by, and affect, that location. Absolutely fascinating.

My novels (thus far) are about far-away (for me) places – France, Norway, medieval England – but the short stories I've written have been set locally. That's odd, I just realized that. I'm proud of California, and feel like I'm on a mini-mission to show people that there is so much more to the San Jose than the Silicon Valley. But when I get into a longer work, I feel like I want to really imagine, get under the skin, of another time and/or place.

So my question for you all: how does the location you live affect your work? Do you write about your hometown, or your current home?

Oh, and on the subject of San Jose history, here's an incredibly cool grassroots history project: [murmur] San Jose (also in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal). The [murmur] team works with local folks to record tidbits on local history and take a photo of the location being discussed. They then post the audio file and the photo on their website. But what's even cooler is that they also put signs up at the locations being discussed (a green ear) and you can call the number on the sign and get that bit of local history. I just love this idea.

cathisophobia: fear of sitting

Myths, symbols, and folklore
teeth "They are a symbol of strength, vitality, and aggressiveness."


  1. Setting (place and landscape) have played huge roles in my fiction. The landscapes tend to reflect, echo or otherwise expand upon the emotional tenor of the story. Doesn't matter necessarily whether I currently live in a place or not, but I do use locales I know.

    very interesting...

  2. I traveled to France in 2002 and Norway in 2004, and now that I look at my novels, the locations are characters in and of themselves. The impact of those trips run deeper than I had imagined!

    Thanks for the comment, by the way!