Summer, Travel, and Places of Enchantment

Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate Lives: Summer, Travel, Places of Enchantment

I love this Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ quote. What is life, what is summer, without moments and places of enchantment?

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a road trip with my husband. (He is an awesome road trip pilot, ready and willing to stop anywhere interesting or necessary, plus he is a fantastic photographer.)

We traveled from Reno, Nevada, to Sonora California, to Eureka California, through the state and national coastal redwood parks, then home.

Summer Isn’t Summer Without Places of Enchantment

For me, there are several requirements that must be satisfied for me to feel like I have actually experienced summer.

  1. Fireworks: satisfied on the 4th of July
  2. Sitting beside a rushing river or gurgling stream: satisfied last week with a little stop alongside the Waller River. We did some rock-hopping (what I used to call it, now it’s more like scrambling and balancing after my recent health set-backs), rock-gathering–“Come see this!” “Oh, isn’t this one beautiful!”, and lastly, just sitting with my feet in the cold water, listening to the river’s roar. Ah, peace.
  3. Walking in the forest: also satisfied last week as we made stops to amble in the beautiful California coastal redwood groves. They are so majestic, huge, and old! It really puts our little lives in perspective. We even had the pleasure of enjoying some mysterious morning fog!

The Literate Lives Joys of Road Tripping

Road tripping is fun, renewing, and feeds my imagination.

As we drive, I collect names for places mostly, but as my husband and I joke and engage in wordplay, for characters as well.

Road tripping refills my “landscape well,” providing me with a reminder of the wider range of settings available to draw on when writing, and the links between settings and names.

And, road tripping can inspire actual scenes and stories. Don’t be surprised someday if one of my future projects includes a love smitten gold miner and the glacial object of his affection!

Summer’s End

A week into August, I can accept that, like every year in the past, summer will end, and I can be at peace with that knowledge thanks to mine and my husband’s summer wanderings and savoring of places of enchantment.

Your Turn

  • What does it take for you to feel you have experienced summer?
  • How does travel fuel your literate lifestyle?
  • How do places of enchantment feed your soul?

 Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts. I love to hear from you!


Settings: Oh, the Places You Could Go!

wooded path 7.13I collect names for my writing.

I also play an alphabet name game to put myself to sleep when insomnia strikes (I rarely make it past “M”).

Last night my two obsessions merged. I woke up around 3:45 A.M.–way too early! And I could not fall back asleep.

So, I decided to resort to my old insomnia standby–the name game. However, I was tired of playing masculine names, feminine names, and cities of the world, so I decided to make up names I could use in my fiction. I only intended to amuse myself until sleep overtook me, but I didn’t get past “A” before I realized I had to write these down.

Turning on only the dimmest of lights, I curled up in my nest in the family room with a white legal pad, a smooth flowing pen, and my cozy blanket made for me by a dear friend, and away I wrote. The rules:

  • three names for each letter of the alphabet
  • write brainstorm/free-write fashion–no stopping, no thinking
  • at least one one-syllable name per letter.

I was done in ten minutes. Here are some of the results of my middle-of-the-night exercise:

  • Crumbleigh
  • Impasse
  • Liss
  • Pickleburrough
  • Resolve
  • Zander

Now I do realize places with these names may already exist. However, I have not yet encountered them so they get to stay on my list. I will transfer the results of this exercise to my name book, so someday, when I am revising and I come across a blank where I did not want to stop during the drafting process to think of a name, I can turn to my little flowered book and choose one.

This was a most satisfying endeavor. Upon reaching “Zander,” I laid my pen and paper aside, went back to bed, and fell right to sleep.