Friday, January 23, 2015

Storyteller's Journey

Columbia River Maritime Museum Puzzle
 A Heart for History

Last weekend my husband and I visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum. If you're ever in Astoria, Oregon, be sure to take the time to visit the extraordinary museum.

I've lived near the Columbia River since I was a toddler, so the history presented inside the museum - and the artifacts displayed - touched me deeply. (I'm not sure why we've never taken the time to visit the wonderful venue before.)

As we departed the museum and continued on our trip toward home, it dawned on me that nearly every story I've ever written has included at least a bit of Pacific Northwest history. (Even The Scandinavian Santa was inspired by my great-grandfather who immigrated to Washington State.) That epiphany really shouldn't have surprised me since history was always my favorite subject in school. As a reader I also love historical fiction. When I pondered on that personal truth, I wondered how I could have missed that tidbit about myself as a writer. As writers we're constantly told: "Write what you know." Well, I guess I have been doing that...I just didn't realize it. Although I was not aware I was consistently including history in my writing, my mind had subconsciously prompted me to do just that.

I brought a souvenir home from the museum - a book! If I'm destined to have a "heart for history" then I had better brush up on the legends and lore of the beautiful region where we live. Below is a photo of The Columbia River ~ Gateway to the West, by Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes.

Is there a subject that seems to always end up in your writing?

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