Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sweet Sunday Morning: Researching an Adventure Novel in Paradise

Here it was, what I faced last Sunday morning. The scene at the right is the view from VATNA's cockpit--the marina at Sumay Cove, Guam where I was sitting with my cup of coffee and my book. The book was this one, all about the legends of the Pacific islanders. Not everyone can do their research in paradise on a sweet Sunday morning, so I say thanks to the choices I've made that made this thing come true. Life really is all about choices--that's one cliche you can live by.

I've got the general plot of the book in my head and now I'm doing the dirty work: reading and reading and reading to steep my brain in island lore. I've learned that when I'm writing, I might not remember all the myriad of facts I've read (I need to go back and check my facts), but I will somehow get the mood or feeling right if I've read enough and thought about it enough. While I read, I take notes in a notebook or put them in a file named The Spirit of the Voyage here on this laptop.

But, in this case, the reading is part of the adventure of writing. It's exciting to learn about the unique perspective on life the islanders have. How each tiny atoll has its own beliefs on how the world was created and how mankind came to exist. It's also exciting to learn that there are commonalities between life experiences on a remote island in the Pacific where I live now and a remote farming village in Massachusetts where I grew up. We all live until we die, are afraid, seek answers to our fears, try to explain away the darkness through myths and religion. And we all cling to those most important things: love and family.

So as this book takes shape, I can see that this writer will invoke the small gods and demons that haunt world's sleep and shape world's waking moments and out of them, out of these elemental energies, create an adventure story that will rise into the atmosphere and travel around the world and be understood everywhere.