How can I effectively capture place in my stories? This is the question I’ve been tossing about in my mind lately. I recently drove across South Dakota to attend some yoga teacher training. Perhaps I’ve been in Minnesota too long. I have to admit that when I exited 35 South at Albert Lea, and got onto I-90 west, I started to get very very excited. The vast sky (which would get even more vast as I crossed into South Dakota and the land got extremely flat) really excited me. I don’t have settler ancestors; this is not part of my family history. But there is something about wide open sky that makes me crazy; almost giddy. Add that to the fact that I knew I would end up near the Black Hills, and I almost couldn’t control myself.
Many hours later, when I pulled into Rapid City, I was tired. But I hadn’t turned on the radio once (I never do). I simply drove and drove under a huge blue sky.
Being a writer, I always wonder if these landscapes shape people. I fully understand now why some people I’ve met from the prairie states have told me they feel claustrophobic in Minnesota. But what does daily life under such a huge landscape and such a big sky do to people? Does it have an effect on us we’re not aware of?
I suppose this question might not be interesting to some, but I find it very interesting.