Friday, July 11, 2014

Why I Chose Wyoming


As the State of Wyoming celebrates her 124th birthday this July, thought I would  briefly share a few of my reasons for choosing this place of extraordinary natural beauty, fascinating people and compelling history as the central setting for The Liberty & Property Legends, my saga of The West & Gilded Age.
The fundamental theme of The Liberty & Property Legends is freedom.
Everything hangs off this. I wanted a Western setting because in The West people were looking to be free of the constraints that were stifling their adventurous spirits, their strong desire to be independent, their religious and cultural freedoms, and the need to get ahead both financially and personally.
A strong platform for women.
In The West, there is a strong emphasis on the significance of women and their contribution. As I wanted to give my female characters a firm base to strut their stuff, I chose Wyoming, where women had the franchise since the Territory of Wyoming  was created in 1868. Women were integral to Wyoming - the first US state or territory to give women the vote.

Women's suffrage in Cheyenne, Wyoming -
I am very fond of this famous image!

Wyoming is called the Cowboy state.
There is no greater embodiment of the spirit of freedom and independence  than the cowboy.  When you read The Liberty & Property Legends you see this borne out in Luke.

Bucking horse & Cowboy sculpture -
Capitol Building, Cheyenne

If you study the seals of The Liberty & Property Legends you will see two of the motifs which will never change: 
1. the train, which symbolizes the Gilded Age of capitalism and progress;
2. the bucking horse and cowboy, which symbolizes Luke, who embodies Liberty & Property; it is also the symbol of Wyoming and her cultural history, the central setting of the saga to this point.

Happy Statehood, Wyoming,
Land of Dreams, Stuff of Legends!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Contradictions of Wanderlust


And we're back! Here we are, having sighed it's good to be home like most folks upon return from a vacation, as they step through the front door and drop their bags. But then I've been known to say that after a trip to the mall and dropped the grocery bags in the kitchen. So what's really going on when we say that?

The adventurous traveler mostly returns from holiday with a stack of crumpled boarding passes and a bunch of mixed emotions... 
Sad to stop adventuring, although it's good to be back. Live happily like a vagabond, but definitely need some stability and the paid employment (travelling may not be a job, but can be damn hard work). Oh, the excitement of seeing the world... familiar mattress and pillow please. Love flitting from here to there, but isn't it nice not to have to rummage around in a suitcase for clean nickers and socks.

It's complicated. It's the ebb and flow. It's appreciating home because we've been away from it; it's enjoying the freedom and exhilaration of travel because home is waiting for us at the end of the adventure. If we've loved our destination, uncovered a deep connection, there is the strong pull to return, even though a deeper reality - home - is usually stronger. I don't know a different sensation than that of 'I must get back'. That's not everyone's feeling though - is it yours? I would love to hear your thoughts.

I won't keep you with a heap of holiday stories. I'll sort out my holiday snaps, see what might be interesting to share from time to time. Yeah, that's what I'll do. Although here is something I can't resist from my first visit to Sweden...

Above, the view from our Stockholm apartment window... a stoic sun resolving to set in
the Land of the Midnight Sun. In summer the sun sets above the horizon, so the gold fades
but not the light. The time is about 10.30 p.m.
Below, barely a few hours later, and viewable in the window next to the one in the pic above,
the sun rises on a new day; it's about 4 a.m. and the sun is high and the light is pearly.

With that promising vibe, and with that pesky jetlag finally fading, it's back to work :)