Inspiration comes from all angles.
When one says the word beach, usually the image that comes to mind is that of bikinis and margaritas, beach towels and suntan lotion, volleyball and heavy wax jobs. Well, not so much around here in Washington. The beaches are mostly made up of dark sand covered with stones and jagged rocks, and more often than not the waters and wind are icy cold. Things heat up a bit in the summer time, of course, but even then Washington has very few “prototypical” beaches.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the beaches here. Walking on the paths by the beach, watching the waters churn and lick against the stony shore, smelling the odor of fish and hearing the squawk of seagulls and the deep pleat of distant tugboats…as a writer, very little inspires me as much as breathtaking scenery, wherever I may find it. I draw as much inspiration from big city lights as I do from walks in the deep woods (though I’ll admit my preference is for the wilderness…I have’t been much of a “city boy” since I went to college…which was back in the 1850s).
For me, going for a walk or a bike ride or a drive in pretty any environment can turn into a sensory adventure. I enjoy taking in the details of the environment — the shape of the clouds, the cracks in the sidewalk, the smell of the water, the direction of the wind. Those are the kinds of details that go through my head when I’m writing, and I try to shove as many of them as possible into my tiny brain no matter where I go: on my morning walk, on my bike commute, at the train station. Even at home there’s always something to see that I haven’t noticed before if I take the time to look: some crease of shadows in the corner, a secret hiding place for a spider’s web, some new bird poking around outside, or some hidden root in the backyard. (Unfortunately, some of these lovely details I find at home lead to more housework, but hey…)
Get out. Explore. See and smell and listen and touch and taste. Even if you’re not a writer, all of those details you take in are good food for your soul.
(And on that somewhat mythic note, enjoy the snapshots I took this weekend).