As I adjust to a different set of surroundings, I find myself once again thinking about the way a story’s setting affects everything else about it. And wondering how much the habitat of any given writer affects the stories they create. I don’t think it’s an absolute thing– certain projects I’ve worked on in recent years (while living in Southern California) have clearly taken inspiration from the Idahoan hills I grew up in– but I suspect that the high desert I’ve been so near for the past few years has worked its way into my imagination. At least, I think I recognize the tiniest shreds of the Mojave in the barren plains that keep supplying Tanner and Miranda with their adventures. And I imagine there are some wildly colorful stretches of Utah that will make an appearance as well, now that I’ve driven through it.
So maybe it’s not so much about where the writer is at any given time. Maybe it’s more about where they have been, what different places have seeded themselves in their minds. And if you spend more time in a place it has more time to make itself at home in the corners of your imagination. It’s why I suspect the various space stations that exist half-imagined in my note-heap bear a striking resemblance to both Los Angeles and Yerevan.
And yet. Sometimes it doesn’t take that long at all. Sometimes, all you need is a flash. Wilderness illuminated by the untamed, untameable summer storm that finally caught you. Or the red-sand expanse that spreads beneath a great, blue sky and takes your breath away. Or the water, impossibly still, that reflects the desert mountains in stranger perfection because the sand has forgotten what to do with the rain.