Writer’s March Day 4

The Meadow by James Galvin

I don’t know for sure if I got my five hours in today or not.  I kind of lost track of time. I worked some this morning, from about 9 to 12 but the progress felt slow and painful and I was eager for any excuse to check my email or Facebook.  I think by 10:30 I’d written six actual words.  Or at least it was a net gain of six words, I may have written more and deleted some…  So I took a break to go read some of The Meadow by James Galvin.

If you have not read this book, and you’re a fan of beautiful prose, coupled with good story, then go get this book.  For me it is a nice break, and I’m hoping to emulate some of Galvin’s poetic style.

One of the things I admire in this book is how it treats place, not so much as a character in the story, though there are some elements of that, but rather as the threads that hold the stories together.  The book is about the people that have lived and worked on this meadow for a hundred years.  Each “chapter” is a short vignette about the lives of the few people who have lived on this land.  Galvin weaves between past and present, and clearly holds a love of the land, and the people who have lived there.

This makes me think about my relationship to place.  In last month’s post about home I mentioned that having grown up in a military family we moved a bit. Actually we moved a lot less than other people (my uncle, for example went to 27 schools!).  The culture was instilled in the family, however because my mother was the daughter of a Navy Commodore, the granddaughter of a Navy Lieutenant and my father was the son of a Navy Admiral.  Not only were we nomadic, we were not even “land” people. We were sea people.  Kind of.  My Navy Commodore grandfather was actually a pilot–  even more distant from the land!

I struggle with ways to incorporate Place into my writing and I’m starting to wonder if my upbringing,the military culture, doesn’t encourage a deliberate unattaching from the land.  I know that sounds strange, but I don’t know how else to describe it.  Where ever you are, there’s your home.

I’d like to learn to notice things about Place more. I have an instinctual understanding that environment affects attitude, but I’ve always thought of that more in terms of actual home environment.  A clean house versus a messy house, nicely decorated (even if on the cheap) versus plain and spartan…   but that world out beyond the walls of my house?  Not sure how to interpret it and its affects on me.

I’m going to ponder this some more….   and tell you I just got another 45 minutes in of writing!  March On!

Lest you think I only wrote that little bit, those six words in the morning, today, after lunch with a friend, I managed to get another 1000 words in.

PS:  I’ll be guest blogging over at the Writer’s March site on Thursdays. Check me out!

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