Engineer on Mount Washington’s Historic Cog Railway waits for the signal to begin moving forward again.
Recently, I’ve been forced to switch hard drives, leading me to the unenviable task of cleaning up my files. I knew that some day this would happen. What I didn’t know was the treasure chest of unlooked-at photographs buried in there. I had folders of pictures from trips around Maine that I knew existed, but had left behind as new projects came up. In most cases, the images hadn’t even gone through the usual process of digitally organizing them. Embarrassingly, some entire folders hadn’t even been looked at—or hadn’t been looked at in so long that they appeared new to me!
Stream flowing under the autumn leaves in the Maine’s White Mountains National Forest.
I’ve decided to go through them, organize the images and post them in my flickr account. Some of the real stand-outs will also go to my stock agency for sale.
The fist two batches to make the transition are from a trip into New Hampshire’s White Mountains and a drive through Acadia National Park (both with my parents.) Both sets of photos yielded pictures that reminded me of the effect of a great image to transport the viewer to another part of the world. Some photos came up that surprised me. There have also been pictures that have sparked my love of photography again.
A wave crashes against the rocks in Acadia National Park, Maine.
Over the next few weeks, I will be sorting through many of those “lost” files. As those pictures go up, I’ll be posting them here.
Writing stories isn’t always about sitting in a room, striking keys in solitude. Recently, I jumped at the chance to meet with Deputy Chief of the Portland Police Department, Joseph Loughlin to talk about police procedure for my current novel project. (This is one of the benefits of going to conferences, by the way. I would never have gotten time with a man as busy as Chief Loughlin had I not met Kate Flora at the New England Crime Writers’ Conference, who co-wrote the book Finding Amy with him.) I expected little more than a short question and answer session between meetings. What I got was one of the most interesting and informative research sessions I’ve ever had. Chief Loughlin is friendly and charismatic with a vast amount of experience to share. Not only did he answer all of my questions, he helped me think of ways around some of the roadblocks police procedure posed for my characters. He also gave me a comprehensive tour of the police station including the new regional crime lab just being completed.
I learned from the meeting that parts of the story I put a lot of time and effort into will have to be tossed out and redone. I also know that once that’s finished, the story will ring truer, and the reader will find far more texture to dive into.
The meeting was much more than just jotting down a few details for the story. The real experience was meeting a great guy who is passionate about what he does and who was willing to open a door to a world that is very different from the world I wake up and inhabit every day. Sitting down at a lonely desk to write each day can seem dull or frustrating at times, but moments like these remind me why being a writer may be the best job in the world.
The first blog post always seems the hardest. You have all this blank space to fill and you don’t know where to begin. I’m certain that this blog will change over time, as I move through projects and my constantly shifting focus drifts from point to point like a dog wandering through a park.
My first goal will be to inform interested people of the things going on in my life, mostly regarding my writing projects and happenings. My second goal will be to pass along any unique information I happen to come across. Third will be to provide a glimpse into the imperfect machinery of my brain as I struggle through writing projects, and the techniques I employ to keep me from throwing my word processor into a busy street. Like any piece of writing, things will creep out of the ether while I’m not looking and set themselves down in writing, revealing insight I didn’t even know I was capable of.
At least I hope so. That’s where the best stuff comes from.