Saturday, July 9, 2016

Write about your loves....

Judi Getch watercolor painting copyrighted, "Cove Road, Summer's Glory,"  Wellfleet on Cape Cod 
I'm currently reading  "the house on oyster creek" by Heidi Jon Schmidt.  It's not new, published in 2010, and its cover is worn and the pages dogeared.  But that all adds to its love-ability.  Unusual for me to find a book that I really enjoy, but a friend gave it to me saying she thought I would like it.  I don't just like it, I love it..

It touched something inside me... made me want to curl up on the porch swing with a cup of coffee and lose myself in her writing.  Isn't that what we learned in creative writing class?  Write about something that will touch your readers.  Now, granted, this might not be your cup of tea, but for me, a "washashore" of Wellfleet, I can't put it down.   It touched my heart, brought up old family memories at Chipmans Cove, made me think about my childhood in this very special house that was floated up from Provincetown and placed on a large concrete pad, and all the people who drove up that overgrown winding driveway to visit us in that home filled with love.

And it wasn't just the place that she wrote about, but the way she portrayed it - she painted her characters and settings so well as she moved the story along.  It's like my paintings of Wellfleet... they glow with love and memories just as her story did.  I envy her that writing talent.  It seems so natural, but she probably agonizes over her choice of words just as we do.  She has us stand in the old long neglected living room and see the cob webs on the narrow steep stairs leading to the upstairs bedrooms, the family portraits with faces that resemble "American Gothic,"  and a furnace that is rusty and old, barely chugging out a few wisps of heat into the house.  We see it all through her eyes, but look at it through our experiences.  Here, she thinks, lies the possibility of a home by the ocean.

One of Ms. Schmidt's secrets, over and above her ability to put words and thoughts together perfectly, is that she loves her setting, knows it, and lives it.  And I know how that feels.  Two of my novels, currently in editing, are set in this town that she and I both love.  It was a joy for me to set my characters in places I could see, that I could feel and that I loved.

But keep in mind, it shouldn't be a description of the place that you love, but the feeling of being there, or what you felt when you lost a person that you loved, or the joy and pain felt with a first love, or the sorrow of the death of your beloved dog when you were a child.  These are emotions that will touch others because we have all lived through them.

Remember - show don't tell!

Well, enough of my rambling.  Happy summer and may it inspire you to write your memories of summers past!