I’ve been pondering the wondrous landscapes of the West—a big reason I live here. It’s telling, I think, how people from the Midwest and East often visit the West and ask, “Where’s all the greenery?” And I go East and kinda wonder the opposite: “Where are all the rocks? Where’s the dirt?” I suspect we’re conditioned to love the land we grow up in.
Many years ago I moved to Midwest farm country. I only lasted about three years, or maybe it was one that seemed like three. Kidding. That’s not to diss farm country—I know many people there love it. I also know that some of those folks consider a primo vacation to involve traveling west and hanging out with rocks and dirt and strange poky vegetation. But I don’t pretend to be neutral on the subject.
My main thoughts in relation to writing fiction revolve around how one designs the landscapes of a fictional world. I wonder if writers do their best work when their stories are set in their own most sacred places, whether the Wild West or the wilds of NY’s 5th Avenue. Might a story hold more resonance for the reader if it’s set in a writer’s beloved home ground?
Does setting a story in an inner landscape that mirrors a well-loved outer one add some kind of magic to a story? Flipside: Do the best writers possess the ability to thoroughly resonate their passion regardless of their fictional setting? If so, how do they do that?