When I was a child, I dreamed of traveling the world.
I grew up about seven miles outside of a small town in the Midwest. Cornfields everywhere!
It was common to get stuck behind farmers driving tractors, hay balers and combines on the way home from the grocery store. I am one of eight, third in line, but I always felt like a middle child, even though mathematically that makes zero sense.
In retrospect, regardless of the challenges we faced, it was a bucolic childhood, full of wide-open spaces, tomatoes from our garden and lush cornfields that stretched all the way to the woods.
The knowledge that came from reading the monthly National Geographic that came to our mailbox was my first glimpse of another world. A mysterious place where people looked different than anyone I knew, who ate exotic food, and had different cultures, religions and fascinating traditions.
Real-life experiences and reading literature are an integral part of my education as a #writer. Enjoying books like, Lord of the Flies, The Secret Garden, and The Silver Chair as a young person, having foreign exchange students live with our family for a school year. Dr. Jorge Ratemales from Santiago was and will always be part of our family.
I love that my parents hosted international PhD candidates during the winter break, because most of them couldn't afford to fly home for only two weeks. Everything enthuses my writing.
Shout out to the coolest woman we ever had as a guest, a scientist named Panciri Wathenayamenaporn. Her favorite bands were Queen and The Bay City Rollers and her favorite catch phrase was, 'Another one bites the dust.' She went on to earn her PhD and eventually moved back to Indonesia.
It's cool to recall that five years ago my debut novel, CAROLINA SPIRIT was finished on an Arabian horse farm in Louisville, KY. I read the final chapter aloud to my true love beneath the beautiful oak tree in this photo. Bluegrass isn't really blue, but it's soft, fluffy and amazing.
My thesis was inspired by a Pictish stone that is so magical, I chased after it to a dirt road in The Highlands of Scotland. I could go on and on about how immersion enthuses art.
To pen stories with depth and meaning, a writer needs more than the ability to create a lyrical sentence.
We must divine the essence of what our characters feel, smell and experience. It never dawned on me util this morning that having a beer and eating a fish taco in the Baja is research. It's the best kind and it also gets us away from our desks for a few days.
Writer to writer, I challenge you to take your words deeper on your next project.
Since we can't really travel right now, as most of us are struggling with survival, sickness and the dangers lurking around every corner. It's enough to melt your brain and break your heart.
I have a proposal and possible solution to help your story shine or art be more #authentic and for you to not have to even leave your house for it.
If you are lucky enough to have anything extra in the budget, save your pennies, and plan a trip to Morocco, Asia, or Argentina. Choose a place on the globe that speaks to you, plan your escape and dream about it.
Not kidding, how important it is to have things to look forward to. Dreaming is free.
Hopefully one day you will meet the locals, eat their delicious food and learn more about their culture. If you simply cannot leave town, (this was written before the pandemic) zoom an administrator at the county jail, a homeless shelter, the local librarian or do a virtual ride along with the local fire department.
Do something different than your normal and respectfully chat with individuals on social media about what they know, how they really feel and learn about what they love.
If you are shy, have a gregarious friend chime in on the zoom or on social and let them do the talking while you take brilliant notes.
I haven’t been to China yet, and was quite nervous to write Moon Zinc, a short story about a girl named Moon Lotus who is only fifteen, who has dropped out of school and works long hours in a factory. It was difficult to write, because I knew almost nothing about China before I began. One day I would very much like to follow in Moon’s footsteps and see the trees flower, taste noodles from a street vendor and join others in Tai-Chi as the sun comes up.
The life of a girl like Moon was so different than mine, I spent months researching. Find the story on Amazon on Kobo, Apple iBooks and Nook https://books2read.com/u/mqDOoO This title also awarded me a competitive writing fellowship. Part of its strength and message came from a heart-breaking confession a stranger shared with me on an airplane.
Reviews are deeply appreciated.
Remember that books and stories have intrinsic value in our society to educate, inspire, reveal another world, value system or culture, defeat ignorance (YES!) and lastly to make us feel like we’re not alone. As creators, we must apply due diligence and explore everything possible to remain open-minded, respectful and be authentic.
Please do your #research, listen more than you speak and befriend people who have a different perception than your own. Then turn off your social media, write, and create your ass off.
Follow and engage with me on Twitter @Bibiana1Krall and @bibianakrall on Instagram. I hold strange hours these days, but I will be back soon.
Let’s chat about your virtual field trip and what it did for your writing. I can’t wait for the best part, which is to hear about the new friends you’ve made along the way.
Until next time, find your Peace, then Love, Hustle and Read or Write. Xox
If you enjoy this post, I always appreciate comments, follows and shares. Now get offline and go write something amazing. Stay safe and please take care out there.
"Immersive writing in search of the heroine."
Twenty-seven titles and counting. I am grateful to every single one of you!