An empty room and blank paper–at countless workshops & speaking engagements, writers advise having those two things in order to create a manuscript. It’s a necessary beginning for many authors, myself included, but once a story takes shape, inspiration needs to come from a source with more to offer than the expansiveness of the blank page. Visual stimulation is as important to me as what life may sound like for the characters I create. I look at photographs to find ever-changing muses.
While writing Poke Sallet Queen & the Family Medicine Wheel, I was captivated by Candice Read Shoulder’s images on Instagram. She posts as @canditcha
They show her modern day life with her husband on their middle Tennessee farm, but most of the images have a vintage filter or style. I’m mesmerized by her ability to capture the beauty of horses in motion and how sunlight moves and changes through the day and the seasons.
Candice and I worked on our high school yearbook together, and after I graduated and moved, and then she graduated and moved, both of us traveling in opposite directions, we found one another via Facebook once we each returned to middle Tennessee to reconnect with the permanent roots we already had here.
Did technology help me to write my book? Of course, it did, and bringing images directly to my phone from her phone is only one example. When I asked Candice if she had photos of poke sallet in every stage of development–flowering, berrying, ripening, and nodding in a tower back toward the ground–she walked outside and around her farm to take the photos. Each time she sent a photo or tagged me in one, I jumped back into the story with fresh images to pull me along.
I am honored that she gave me permission to create a slideshow for the book composed of her images. During my reading next Thursday, June 4, 2015, at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center in Clarksville, TN, I’ll display the slideshow on a large projector during my reading at the art walk. I hope that you will join us.
I’ll also display a second slideshow composed of antique and vintage photos of historical places in and around Nashville, as well as rural middle TN families with their musical instruments. The Art walk begins at 5:30 pm. I will be reading from my new book and signing copies. Books will be available for purchase from Seasons, the museum gift store.
Read praise from notable authors and more about Poke Sallet Queen & the Family Medicine Wheel here.