We left Sikeston, MO on an overcast, showery morning. I knew we'd cross the Mississippi River but didn't realize we'd also go over a bridge on the Ohio River, too. The two rivers meet with Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky around them. It was kind of neat and it made me think about the importance of place when we write. Had I enough time, I could have written much about my feelings while crossing these two mighty rivers and could have described the place better. But I didn't have paper and pen handy and we were past the area too quickly. I will definitely remember this event, however.
We drove only a short way in Kentucky, then spent most of our day driving across the length of Tennessee. The picture above is a good one to show much of the scenery we saw today. Once again, the sense of place in writing came to mind. Magnificent scenery which could bring forth so many wonderful adjectives and sensory details.
We left the highway and drove into the small community of Baxter, TN at lunchtime. We'd seen The Whistle Stop Cafe on a sign as we neared the exit. The quaint restaurant was across from an old train station and not terribly inviting on the outside. Inside, it was really cute and cozy. Lots of framed photos on the walls of trains and the station and more from long ago. We ordered a small pizza to share and enjoyed both the pizza and the local color provided by other diners. Once again, the sense of place came to mind.
Characterization also came to light as I watched the various people in the diner. A little boy with beautful auburn hair, another who had lost his front teeth--both caught my eye, mostly because I am working on a new story for kids.
We spent the night in Newport, TN at a Best Western Hotel that is old but totally renovated and very nice. I watched several people unloading and entering their rooms. All from other states and all have a story to tell, most likely.
Even when we travel, I cannot stop using my writer's mind. Sometimes, it's all I can do to keep myself from starting a conversation with these strangers to find out more about them. As we left our hotel this morning, 4 men were standing by their car with the hatch opened. I noticed they had a Florida plate and hunting gear stowed in back. We started chatting and it turned out they were on their way to South Dakota to hunt pheasants. Wish I'd had more time to chat with them and learn more about each one.
Wednesday, we arrive at the home of one of my brothers. Family stories on tap, for sure.