research: real places, real stories

It may appear to be a simple act to write fiction.

My  friends do that.

Create a name.  Like Hiram Wheelfinder.

Have the character who goes with that name do any old thing.

Such as sell billboard space by day and construct sculptures from chewing gum wrappers by night.

And send that character anywhere  in the world.

Or, maybe you make up a new universe for your character to inhabit.

Such as Ortung -Bonnet, the planet where Hiram Wheelfinder was born.

Does that sound easier than running into a rabbit during a stroll in a garden?

In a Garden

I was beguiled by a rabbit recently.

This bun-bun appeared to my hubby & me this month.

We were at Morikami

Museum and Japanese Gardens in Florida.

It ran across our drizzly path.

Then a littler further along, we found it.

Waiting just for us slowpokes.

And then it loped off ahead of us again.

And then it did this again.

There was a lot to see at the gardens.

The real, live bun-bun is what I think of first.

White gloves 

Also this summer, seated in an archives, whilst

wearing white gloves that weren’t mine,

I opened an envelope.

It revealed  a tiny box.

And in the box was an old

treasure  that I was lucky to examine

as part of the research I’m completing

for a children’s illustrated biography of

an unusual sea-going man.

The scenic pond also relates to him.

As much of a snoozer

as this scene  seems, I have to say it was also

exciting,  in a way that only a person intent on

scouting a specific site location with information

from old maps,  hundreds of miles away from

known home territory, can feel.

A deer

I happened upon the deer in a northern park.

She was joined by a dog.

The location where I came up her &  also the surprise of the deer herself,

each relate to other non-fiction research for

another illustrated biography for students,

about a woman of great talent.

Writers know that creating good fiction is a

rough and tumble practice.

I suspected that during the many headlines

of my news-writing days.

But non-fiction work keeps me hoppin’ too.

Real places, real stories

During a 21-day summer road trip that luckily also included

down time for a seaside family wedding & to

visit old newsroom pals & to sightsee in Boston

with our college daughter, I chased leads, had some ideas

dashed & returned home to catalog a trove of good materials,

in order to get on with writing about real

people & their real stories for children.

And when I thought that

I would see my way back soon, to the kind of work that produces an

ol’ Hiram Wheelfinder (not his real name), or an MFA in

children’s literature, the paperwork that as of this summer

I now have in my tool kit,

my hubby & unexpectedly I meet a garden bun-bun &

spend time with the story of a very real experiment,

the Yamato Colony of Florida.

Real places, real stories,

mesmerizing me  some more.

2 thoughts on “research: real places, real stories

  1. Why can I never think of names as cool as Hiram Wheelfinder? And why have you left me wondering about his fate while you amble along in the real world?

    Seriously, Jan, your real-world based writing is so much harder than what I do. You have to be faithful to the truth. I get to make it all up.


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