Adventures in Writing: What Great Adventures Have Shaped Your Writing?

May 6, 2011

Have you had a “great adventure” in your life? Something dramatic that you did that completely took you out of your ordinary every day life? What made you do it? Did it change your writing? Did it give you new perspective? Character?

I was born here in Los Angeles but grew up in a beautiful little town of about 2,000 in Ohio. We moved back to Southern California my freshman year of high school. Definitely, a major culture shock. I loved my small town childhood, and it definitely had a lot to do with shaping who I would become. I’m pretty sure those long cold winters helped to foster my love of books and writing.

I finished school, married, built a family and a life here in Los Angeles. I began writing in this city of ample opportunity. Life here is filled with adventure. Ask anyone, just driving on the 405 Freeway at rush hour (basically any hour) makes you feel like a risk taker, but that’s just an everyday adventure in Los Angeles. When my husband and I were first dating, he took me to dinner at Felafel King here in L.A. Eddie Murphy’s movie Raw had just opened at the theater across the street, and while we were laughing, talking and eating, a riot broke out in the street. An employee went and locked the front door, and we stayed inside safely watching as police stormed the street with riot gear, and movie goers either joined in the chaos or fled on foot. I’ve been to a Pink Floyd concert at The Coliseum, with 90,000 people in attendance. I’ve flown upside down in a glider over the California desert. And I’ve felt the earth shake under my feet too many times to count. You’d think that would be enough adventure for anyone.

And, I thought it was…About ten years ago, I decided I wanted to move to a small town, and even though my husband said he’d never leave the beach, I started researching small towns. Several years later we found ourselves in Casper, Wyoming, a beautiful little town nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the North Platte River. A town rich with history, beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and a much slower lifestyle. In many ways I felt like I had stepped back in time. We had moved from the most populated state in the country to the least populated state in the country. Talk about a culture shock.

Those six years were truly a “great adventure.” In Wyoming I met our state Governor, Dave Freudenthal, on more than one occasion. I met local newscasters in Wal-Mart and saw the Blues Travelers perform in a farmer’s corral truly up close and personal. I ate antelope and elk, sat at a baseball game in June in snow flurries, and witnessed dramatic lightening storms. I met so many wonderful and amazing people whose stories should be told.

Each adventure I have continues to reshape who I am, what I write and how I write. Every adventure expands my perspective, while making me aware of just how limited my perspective really is. Each experience feeds my hunger to learn and experience more. Reading feeds that hunger, and writing preserves the experience.

What great adventures have shaped your writing? What small adventures have had great impact? I would love to hear your stories.


One Response to “Adventures in Writing: What Great Adventures Have Shaped Your Writing?”

  1. Experience is important for a writer. I moved around a lot like you–from East to West. Knowing the flavor of places and people helps when I create story settings and characters.

    I don’t know if I can pick one great adventure that’s shaped my writing, but my husband’s job has put me in the presence of some very powerful men and some amazing professional athletes, so…that’s something I draw on quite often when I’m creating heroes.


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