Ever since Mr. Moore’s 6th grade class when I finally discovered a textbook that made sense to me, I have had a soft spot for geography and geographers. The far off adventures told in pictures and stories of the world and its peoples captivated me like no math or spelling reader could ever hope to. In particular, pictures of my ancestors toiling away at a coal seam outside of Cardiff in the south of Wales prompted my imagination and to this day, I thank God one of them jumped a boat to the New World.
Geography or setting plays an integral part in my fiction writing. If I can have the setting clear in my mind, I can write almost anything. Since it is summer, and the heat shows little sign of caving, I daydream about a business trip for research purposes, of course. Maybe a sandy beach with a cabana for a romance scene, a cool mountain clime with a remote spring-fed lake for a murder plot, or perhaps I will tackle my genealogy with a miner’s tale and head for the south of Wales.
I have helped to change the meaning of the term “toiling” for my lineage. Instead of timbering, scaling, or sumping, and living in mortal fear of getting crushed to death by a British ton of anthracite coal, or developing pneumoconiosis, I daily face paper cuts, mental breakdowns from self doubt, and I live in fear of boring myself to death.
Yeah, I should definitely go to Wales and share “war stories” with my brethren. I am sure they will be sympathetic.
What did you discover in 6th grade?