I've been driving through the desert mountains between my home and my work with the idea of moving to Minneapolis on my mind. That means leaving behind the geography of my fantasy world, which has been inspired--in part--by the geography of Washington State.
There's the Olympic Mountains to the far west, the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the San Juan Islands, the Cascade Mountains, and then the desert basin and the desert mountains of Central Washington.
Somehow the thought of moving has made the idea of recording some of the desert geography all that much more urgent. What if I never move back?
So, I recently started bringing my camera with me.
Now, I can still hear Maass talking about oblique details and I can still picture Patrick at the conference smiling because of what we heard. That's all stuck with me, and inspired me to search for oblique details.
That's my challenge for you. Search for oblique details in your story world and report back on what you find. Post it on your blog and/or leave a comment. Let me know what you find! Show it in words, show it in photos, or leave it in a song recording, or a clip from a video game. How ever you report back, make sure to show what you see because you were exploring or observing closely.
I usually get in a hurry and take the freeway over the mountains from Ellensburg to Yakima, but I decided to start taking the canyon river road.
Here's what I typically see on the drive:
There's the river. It's blue and cuts through the desert mountains. Right now the summer sun has not backed the life out of the plant life growing on the rocky slopes. There's still a light green hue from spring blooms, and sage grows in patches.
Once in awhile I see big horn sheep in herds, sometimes I see eagles.
Round golden hills steeply sloop down to the river. There are places by the water where tall trees grow and offer shade to travelers.
Sometimes I pull over and walk the river or just take the time to feel the heat and smell the wild flowers. Right now, there's a pleasant desert-sweet sent, and birds sing as they swoop from limb to limb.
These are the things that have become typical for me to see, but just a few days ago I noticed a public access road that I had not previously seen. I put on the brakes and took what amounted to a u-turn, and I'm so glad that I did.
Near the canyon river, far below the golden hill tops, I found a place of green where red eyed tree frogs and bright colored flowers live. It struck me as a place where the people of my story world would go to do significant things.
So, here for your enjoyment, are a couple of photos from that world. I hope that you appreciate the details, and the fact that this place of green, and life, is a place surrounded by desert hills and heat that is unlike anything you would experience in Western Washington. It's a world of sage and golden mountains. The river that cuts through it creates a path of life and pockets of beauty that mean so much more because there are so few places like it in the desert mountains.