Monday, December 21, 2009

I Come From The Land of the Ice and Snow

I've never known what two feet of snow looks like. Now I do. And although it resulted in eight hours of shoveling and no small amount of sore muscles, it also enabled long afternoons by the fire, surrounded by books, soft pillows, and dozing cats.

It makes me think of Chabon's werewolf-pulled sledges, goblins cracking whips in the frozen air; Lewis's "always winter and never Christmas;" Pullman's wild and muddy trip to the far North; of Angmar and the Citadel of the Stars; of the snows of Kilimanjaro and frozen leopards; Scott's men in their last tent, in the howling dark.

Why is it that winter seems so much more evocative than summer? Or is it because I'm IN winter right now, when for most of the year it's temperate and, well, not covered in two feet of snow? Do children in Spitzbergen dream of the desert, of trackless dunes and sultry nights where the stars glow like jewels, just as we dream of the iron smell of coming snow and the northern lights glowing on fields of white?

Unfortunately for my characters, I'm fascinated by almost any geography, and sending them to experience it is the next best thing to traveling there myself. Because I've found my favorite stories have a rich sense of place, of being there. And everywhere is interesting.

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