In a rented Toyota Yaris, a colleague and I wended our way into the heart of Illinois. The flat landscape lulled us to conversational stupefication with peaks of conversational brilliance. The pattern was much like that of a heart monitor.
Then, we were in Springfield. Lincoln is everywhere! On the walls? Lincoln. Big brass statue in hotel lobby? Lincoln. Restaurant mural? Lincoln with logs. Sure, he’s buried here. Not only is Lincoln here, but also the Museum of Funeral Practices. What would you pay to be admitted to the Museum of Funeral Practices?
I doubt very much I’ll get to keep that trip with destiny, as I will be hanging out with a bunch of college professors and talking the talk about international education. I like this sort of stuff too. I like teaching people from all over the world, talking culture, and thinking about cool ways to bring this into the classroom. It’s a very different kind of positive vibe than writing, but it is something I’m as passionate about.
As a matter of fact, a friend and I were talking about taking a research trip to Scandinavia just last night. Her WIP is a Finnish-based fantasy, and you guys know I’m engaged in troll stories. I’ve been to Decorah where trolls live. I’d like to go to Norway which is closer, methinks, to Alfheim.
To taunt me, because it wouldn’t be in the cards for a bit (must…save…money!) Travelocity alerted me that there is a SALE starting today, and that I could get to Oslo or Helsinki for around $564. Based on the prices I was seeing yesterday, I’m like what is that? One way?
I guess the salient point is I like primary research. Reading about some things in books is great, and since I can’t travel back in time to, say, Victorian England, I have to read about these things. BUT I also like interviewing pro-wrestlers, talking to SCA guys, getting that first hand experience. Whenever I can.
Even the above mentioned museum? That sort of thing is very cool to me. Lots of folklore museums visited when I was doing that Fulbright on Baba Yaga in Russia. Whole great bunches of carved wood and peasant houses. Scary ballets with men dressed as witches. All of which you had to be there for to get the right understanding.
I guess that leads to today’s exploration. We all research. How do you do yours? Are you a visitor, an interviewer, a reader? How much do you do for your projects? I find I do a surprising amount for writing about things that aren’t real. You?
It’s 8:32 pm. I think it’s time to put the computer away. Tomorrow I know it’ll be a big day, but it’s a passive day, and I am hoping that if I type very quietly in the back of the room, I can get some writing in. Except for that cool panel about traveling to Viet Nam to be a visual aid.
Shhh! Don’t tell my fellow profs!
ps Yes, I *do* appreciate the irony that I am here, and Obama is in Iowa City. I really do.