Saw this post from a great writer on Twitter, who has written several novels over the past few years, usually set in various parts of Mexico. It got me thinking about the sense of place in fiction, about the places that I have set my own stories over the years.
I think most writers locate their fiction either in a place they have been, or a place they’d like to be. Almost no one writes about where they are.
Some of my stories are about places I’ve lived, that I know intimately–the American Southwest, for example, some parts of the east and west coasts of the USA. But I write about those places when I’m safely gone from them, and they cannot draw me physically back.
The rest of my stories are not about places I’ve lived, but about places that live in me. Sometimes because I long to go there,to a place I’ve never seen and may never see with my own eyes. Sometimes because it’s a place that haunts my imagination, for reasons I cannot fully explain.
Regardless, I am never writing about any place because I feel that I own it or because I’m entitled to lay claim to it. I’m never the authority about any place I’m writing about.
I am a visitor to this planet–not its conqueror.