6 responses to “Defining the Landscape:
How Writers Change Where We Live”

  1. Peggy

    What an intriguing notion….has me thinking of places I’ve read about and been and how those visions intersect and overlap….thanks for that!

  2. Emily

    As a Maine-Florida-Indiana-Kentucky-Indiana-Colorado-Alaska-Washington transplant, I think you’ve hit the mark. Reading Peter Landesman’s The Raven 20 years plus after my departure brought back the unique verbal landscape of Mainers, and I can’t drive out US20 without picturing Jack Kerouac tromping down the mountain from a fire lookout with cardboard on the soles of his shoes. I always prefer to read about a place after I’ve left it, to see it perfectly described by someone else and say, “Yes! That’s it exactly!”

  3. Susan Spaulding

    Mr. Heynan’s comments ring true to me. I saw an interview with Ivan Doig, who said that he wasn’t able to begin writing about Montana–really detailing his experienced and bringing his characters to life accurately–until he had moved away from Montana. Richard Hugo, mentioned above, wrote a similar thing in his book about writing, called Triggering Town. His idea was that there is something that taps into the well of truth in all of us, and that’s where we begin to write. For him, it’s a town. The Triggering Town. I’m not able to write about Wyoming while I’m there–too busy living it. I’m in Western Washington now, so maybe I can begin to put some words down about Wyoming? Of course, I’d write about the high blue sky, but I’d also talk about tattered plastic grocery bags, waving like flags of the proud but conquered, snagged in the sage brush lining every single road in the state.

  4. Mark Holtzen

    I love buying a book while on a trip. It always brings the place alive. Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” made a backpacking trip to Paris unforgettable. That book is still on my “top shelf.” Nice, thoughtful post.

  5. NWBL

    Thanks to all of you for participating and congrats to giveaway winners Peggy and Susan!

  6. Kim Stafford

    Jim Heynen’s notions here keep moving outward like ripples on a pond: can’t write about childhood until you’re grown … can’t write about some people until they’re gone … can’t write about remedy until great hurt is known. Maybe each act of writing is a kind of letter home from the far traveler: “Dear Mother, Father, Sister, Brother–does the windmill still turn with a rusty twang?” Up close, we can whisper to each other. But after the distance of change, we have to call out with a book.

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