Sunday, October 16, 2011


Dateline - Shangri-La

Haven't you always wanted to write dispatches from exotic places like Shangri-La? I was mentally composing this post/dispatch several weeks ago when traveling in Bhutan but wouldn't have been able to send it since wifi is intermittent in the mountains.

Shangri-La conjures up images of remote, snow capped mountains, deep valleys, and elusive monasteries cut off from the outside world where the inhabitants pursue lives of peaceful contemplation while achieving great longevity due to the special air of the valley. Hilton's novel, LOST HORIZONS, set in the Himalayan kingdom of Tibet of the 1930's, gave us all this image of harmony and tranquility and a sense of adventure to search out such exotic places.

Bhutan, another Himalayan kingdom, is indeed lovely. The nation had been cut off from the rest of the world for several centuries and just opened again about thirty yeas ago and is gradually letting in tourists. What a privilege to visit this land of soaring Himalayan mountains and steep sided gorges and valleys.

We did visit ancient monasteries where Buddhist monks continue the traditions of contemplation and education of younger monks. We hiked to several monasteries, up mountains sides, where the clouds were truly below us. The traditional architecture was fascinating, scenery spectacular and the people lovely.

All the time, while gasping for breath while climbing, or from the incredible views spreading before us, the writer within was commenting - wow! How to describe this magnificent place and civilization and bring it home to children?

I did start a new PB set in Bhutan and am trying to tie in the many threads of Bhutanese life that we witnessed and that will bring the story to life effectively. I have a definite plot, a great setting and a spunky MC, so now I need to work on crafting the text.

What travels - local or distant - have given you inspiration this year?


  1. I didn't have to travel far (under 100 miles) for my greatest inspiration this year.

    I found it in the bedroom my two grandsons share - admittedly not as beautiful and serene as Bhutan, but it worked anyway.

  2. My wheels are turning right now for my next project set right in the town I live in. There is one mysterious secluded section that freaks me out, so to speak. I'm mining my fear of that road for nuggets of inspiration.

  3. Gale and Judy,

    You're right - you don't have to travel distances to find a source for an inspiring story for children.

    One of my favorite local "what if" moments came a few years ago when a friend with whom I was visiting in a town nearby here pointed to a big, old, dark, turreted Victorian house and said, "I always thought a witch lived there!"

    Someday a witch may live in a house like that in an great PB!

  4. Wow - Bhutan! I, too, use travel as major inspiration for writing. I spent the summer in Italy, and I'm still turning ideas over in my mind for PBs based on that trip.