Monday, March 4, 2013
PLACES AND FACES - Part I
MALLARD ISLAND, RAINY LAKE, MINNESOTA
"Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods." Ralph Waldo Emerson
I consider myself to be a place writer of destination novels. Place is very important to me...in fact, if often becomes a character in itself. Before I write a novel, I must find a special place to set that novel...a place that speaks to my heart, a perfect place for my characters to live.
Once I find that place, I spend time there absorbing its essence. Visiting with and learning from the locals. Researching the history and culture of the area. Exploring and taking pictures. I need to experience and to feel what my characters' lives are like in this location.
It's very rewarding to me when my readers also fall in love with these places, when they decide to take a trip to see the places where my novels are set.
So...I've decided to do a series of posts about some of the intriguing places I write about.
Today I'm thinking of Rainy Lake along the Minnesota/Ontario international border. This is where my novel, WATERS OF THE DANCING SKY, is set. It's a huge wilderness lake filled with islands. One of these special islands is Mallard Island, owned and operated by the Ernest Oberholtzer Foundation.
I've had the opportunity to spend many hours on The Mallard - sitting on the rock in this picture. Taking sunrise photos. Thinking and plotting my next novel. This is a place to reflect, to dream, to renew oneself. To connect with the spirit of the lake and of the Native Americans who once paddled their birchbark canoes through these waters. To hike along the path picking blueberries and marveling at the wild flowers and lichens sprouting through crevices in this rocky island.
At night the loons call out as moonlight dances across rippling waters. Sometimes the storms roll in across the narrows. The wind howls and rattles the old windowpanes as the rustic old houses seem to sway in the night. Spirits of the past slip into my dreams - infusing ideas that will surface in my future novels.
I spend time rocking in Ober's favorite chair on the wrap-around deck overlooking the great lake. Thinking about his life on this island so many years ago. Immersing myself in his old books,photographs, and documentation of his canoe trips into the heart of the wilderness. If it hadn't been for Ernest Oberholtzer and his environmentalist friends, there would be no Mallard Island, no Voyageurs National Park.
For more information about this man and his island, check out http://www.eober.org.
And stay tuned for more highlights on Rainy Lake and other exciting places in my novels.