RTW: Wide Open Spaces

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s question:

What is the most inspiring setting you’ve ever visited in real life?
This is going to sound kind of weird, but there is something about driving across the west that silences me in awe. Inspires me to create. Allows me to sit in a car for hours on end without a book to read, just watching out the window. (And then talk Mr. Atkins’s ear off, poor guy. My ramblings often don’t even make sense to anyone but myself.)
Maybe it’s because I’m from the east coast. The only place I could see for miles was the beach, a place that I love so very much. So is it weird to say that Wyoming kind of reminds me of the ocean? Because it does.
One reason for the inspiration is the possibility. Every direction you can see is a place with a story. I love driving I-70 through southern Utah and spying roads snaking up the sides of distant mountains. I feel this longing to go on that road, the dirt road that has seen more animal tracks than those of automobiles. Or I-70 through Kansas (I-70 stretches from St. Louis, MO, to central Utah) and catching a glimpse of a farm on the horizon, the only human structure for tens of miles. These remote and unknown places become a playground for my imagination to romp in.
Another reason is the wind. Once again, the windiest place in Charleston, SC, is the beach. My office building is located on the south end of the Denver metro area on a ridge in plains territory. It is windy! When I leave work and the wind blows, I feel emotions of solitude, loneliness, mystery. The wind is kinda creepy, for some reason. And for that, I love it. It’s a bed of inspiration for stories.
My cousin posted these images on her blog of driving across Wyoming. There are certain stretches of I-80 where wind generators litter the landscape. They stretch as far as you can see. They are creepy and eerie, like something you would see in The X-Files.
Cue the black helicopters.
I don’t know about you, but I have the simultaneous urges to hide in my closet AND write a story!

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I write speculative fiction inspired by mythos from around the world, complex family dynamics, and my own experiences living with mental illness. After earning my BA in Linguistics from Brigham Young University in 2008, I received my MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College in 2012. I live in Denver, where my husband and I spend countless hours chasing our three young sons (and sometimes catching them!). I collect tarot decks, dye my hair mermaid colors, and procrastinate by decorating my home. My debut novel, Feathers Sharp as Knives, releases on May 2, 2023.

14 thoughts on “RTW: Wide Open Spaces

  1. So true! I actually just posted on the same vast, open, stunning stretch of country. I forgot to mention the endless winds and windmills though – definitely both impressive and alien.

    1. I know that I-80 isn’t the most exciting stretch of road ever, but there’s something about that sky that is SO majestic. Maybe my feelings are related to the fact that the first time I ever drove it, my sister and I listened to The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. ^_^ Thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. Oh wow. I LOVE those pics of the wind generators. I was a total X-Files fan and yes – totally felt those paranormal creepies tickling the back of my neck. Great pics!

    1. The first time I ever saw those wind mills was across a particularly lonely stretch of I-80 8 years ago. I was seriously sleep deprived and there were dozens of them, all turning slowly … it gave me the heebeedajeebadees! (That is a super hard word to spell!) Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Utah is actually what I was going to say as well! We did a road trip through there when I was a child, and there’s something about the rock formations and wide, open desert that is very alien and inspiring. In Colorado, there are Native American dwellings in the cliffs that inspired a setting in one of my stories as well.

    Otherwise, I’m from California, and spent a lot of time on cliffs overlooking the ocean in college, gleaning many story ideas. Foggy forests do it for me too.

    And guh, that last photo looks like it should have been in the credits for the X-Files or some alien invasion show. Spooky.

  4. Wind mills mushroom out of the wind-swept prairie, thrusting skyward, hungry for air.

    Towers sleek, turbines oiled, coiled and waiting to twist.

    Like the fabled gold spinner, they spin sparks from air, light from nothing.

    Happily humming power into our homes.

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