I am in love with a place.
There is no other way to put it, really. Love produces a physical response: an increase in pulse rate, a swell of feeling within, a dreamy essence to your thoughts, and a desire to return again – at all cost. Do I feel this love? Oh, yes...
This kind of emotion will lend an individual a sense of an intimate connection with a location, as well as an underlying feeling of its sheer mystical power. You research, you photograph, you even obsess a bit as if you were head over heels with a new lover. It has power because it gives YOU power.
And thus, you never forget. If you are an author, like I am, such “positional love” tends to return in your story-telling efforts, again and again. Often, a great story begins with the power of a place, and not simply a character or plot idea. Characters emerge because they belong there, or are birthed by events that have transpired in the past.
I am finding the power of setting to be an underlying theme in my own writing. In , Savage Forest, my first novel, the Dark Forest is a Native name for a place that is very real in north-central Pennsylvania. It is an interesting place historically, rich in lore and inhabited by many different tribes of people before settlers appeared. Lenni Lenape, Mohawk, and a small band known as the Susquehannock, all inhabited different areas of these mountains, and pushed back and forth into one another’s territories.
Three of the mightiest watersheds in all of the United States meet in Potter
County – in one tiny, little spring that bubbles forth from a remote location
near the town of Cobb Hill. These infant waters flow and spread across the
land, morphing into the powerful Mississippi, the St. Lawrence, and the Susquehanna River which fills the Chesapeake Bay.
Setting -worthy, powerful, magical even? Hell yes!
In the middle of this amazing mountainous land, located in north central Potter County, I have spent much of my youth, as well as backpacking in my college years, and hiking and camping in my early married life. I have shown this place to my children, and cultivated the next generation’s love for a place.
In my second novel, Waiting for Eden, this setting emerged again. It birthed new characters, and grew even more dear to me in the process. I am excited about future possibilities as I begin to research local lore, Native American tales, paranormal events, and historical accounts of happenings in the Susquehannock State Forest.
Stay tuned, because I plan to spread my love of place to my readers, moving
back in time of my investigation of events and tales both real and imagined.