Creativity / Death Valley / desert / Exploring / inspiration / Izaak Diggs / Publishing / Travel / writing

Combining Two Great Loves

I blame my father for this.  We were up visiting him last September and he casually suggested that I should try travel writing. I smiled and nodded and didn’t think too much at the time, but the seed had been planted.  I always thought of myself as a fiction writer, someone who comes up with novels and short stories.  But, driving back from Washington things were different and I couldn’t stop thinking about what my father had suggested.

I remember that I was sitting in our room trying to figure something out.  Frustrated, I picked up one of my notebooks and started writing in it–I just started scribbling away and half an hour later I had this rough plan for a book about the deserts of the western United States.  It had come out of nowhere and I was amazed that I had never thought of it before; combining two loves of mine, writing and the desert.

I don’t remember being fascinated by the desert as a kid.  This interest seemed to come to life in my mid-twenties when I was working at this mortgage company back in Petaluma, California.  Back then my idea of a good time was to rent a car for a weekend and drive down to Barstow or Death Valley or Blythe, places most people think of as hell on earth.  They were desolate and hot and you saw a lot of poverty in the towns, but it felt like home.  It felt like my being there made sense.  It was something that resonated with me and yet I never really wrote about it; my journals from back then were about details like how much the rental cars cost or the number of miles I drove but nothing about what I was experiencing inside.  This time it will be different; in the coming months and years I will put all those feelings and perceptions into words. Why didn’t I do that back then? Who knows.  Maybe it wasn’t supposed to happen until now, combining these two great loves of mine.  Creativity is weird.  I don’t begin to understand it, I just try to go with it and appreciate it when it crosses my mind.


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