digging3I got the opportunity of a lifetime — not my lifetime — last week. I took my 4 and 5-year-old grandsons back to Oklahoma to meet Great Grandad, their uncle, great uncles and aunts, cousins, second cousins once removed … you get the idea. There’s a lot of family. We trekked from Grand Lake through Edmond then up to Perry.

It’s remarkable to see the world through the eyes of children. Especially ones who talk continuously. “Why does everyone here live in the middle of nowhere?” These are city kids. “What is this stuff on our shoes?” That would be good old Oklahoma red clay. “You can bruise potatoes?” Yes. They are not basketballs.

These are the details that set not only the place your story occurs, but the mindset of the characters in your story. I love to travel, and have visited all the places in my books. But I know that I have to keep in mind that I am a visitor and seeing through a visitor’s eyes. In my forthcoming novel, MYTH RIDER, I had to balance letting the reader see the country of Georgia from the character’s viewpoint with what seemed amazing and different to me about a foreign place. Fresh cheese sold on the street. Ancient underground baths that looked like a Moon colony. Filigreed balconies cantilevered over narrow, cobbled streets winding up hills.

Once the story moved to Oklahoma, I had to remember those details that I now take for granted but others would find unique. What is exciting about digging ‘taters? Dead vines mark the spot like an X on a pirate’s map. What do little boys do when they see water whether it be a grand lake or small pond? Collect rocks to throw in. The boys and I investigated mayflies, tornado shelters, and fed swarming catfish. We sang Oklahoma! We discussed why folks in Oklahoma ‘warsh’ things instead of ‘wash’ them.

It was insightful seeing home through new eyes and delightful to share it with a new generation. Now, I’m excited to be back at my desk using what I learned to create my next story.


3 Thoughts on “Digging ‘Taters

  1. Linda Smolen on July 21, 2014 at 18:35 said:

    Enjoyed reading about your trip to Oklahoma. Your grandsons live a rich life. I imangine much of that is because of the experiences you and Debra share with them. Lucky little boys.

  2. Everything is more fun thru fresh eyes. I’ve got my grandsons now. It’s always an adventure. Love the story.

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