Monday, May 5, 2014

The importance of place

Ironically I'm titling today's post "the importance of place" - the funny thing about the entry is that I'm posting it quite late in the day due to the fact that the fifth of May is a major holiday in my part of the world ... So Cal (southern California). The twelve foot Tecate beer cans lining the outdoor Mexican restaurants and the mariachi bands out in full force are a reminder of the importance of this date to so many of my fellow Californians, who generously allow the likes of me to join the celebration.

It's all a matter of geography, which I think gets short shrift in far too many books about the craft of writing. I don't know about you, but I feel like a place shapes a person. I've lived on two continents, in various regions of my own and other countries, and I think that my experiences reflect where I've been. Of course human longings are the same across the world, but the way we think of ourselves and how we perceive our lives is, in my opinion, very linked to our geography.

What do you think?

I'm currently reading a book set in Ireland, a country I know quite well, and part of the delight is the fact that I KNOW how and why the characters feel the way they do because I am married to an Irish man, and I've spent time with my mother's family in Co. Donegal. A world away from the beaches and mountains of So Cal, and yet ... linked by a sense of place.

And yet I know of very few books on writing which give more than a passing note to the importance of place, even though our human experience tells us otherwise.

What is your experience? If clothes make the man/woman, does not country?

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