Don’t worry, it’s just a working title for another novel I’m writing.
It might not be as terrifying as it sounds. But, on the other hand, I’m a horror writer after all. One of the highest compliments a reader can pay me is to say my work truly scared them. It’s something many horror writers strive for, but probably few ever attain. One reader who recently read Rule 14, my latest horror, said she was truly stressed and scared reading the work, which she also enjoyed. After I got over my concern for her mental health, I have to admit I was pretty elated about the compliment.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; positive feedback is the fuel that keeps my creative fire burning. But, alas I digress. Except for the burning part, or in this case burn-out. I’ve kept such an insane writing schedule this year, the rate of production has started to take a toll on my health. I’ve hit the wall a few times, only to recover for a few days and start anew. I’ve often tweeted; write, write, write. Rest, rinse, repeat. It’s easy to say, quite another to do consistently.
I also found my inspiration waning ever so slightly. Too much time at the keyboards, and not enough time actually living. I started thinking about it recently and realized that an adventure was exactly what I needed to reignite that spark and passion. Isn’ t the story much more poignant if it has its roots in actual experience? I suppose one could debate that until they are blue in the face. But I won’t bother. To my mind, it is, or at least it’s what I need right now to refuel that creative engine, tune it up so it’s firing efficiently and effectively on all cylinders again.
See, experience, enjoy life and write about it; in an exotic and dramatic country.
That’s the plan anyway. Hence, the trip to Ecuador. In a few days, I’ll be leaving the frequently frigid winter of Canada and flying into Ecuador. Quito, to be precise, the capital of the country. I’ll be gone almost two months and it should be plenty of time to explore the many wonders of the most biodiverse country on the planet (it’s said to have more plant and animal species per square mile than any other country in the world).
Sure, a few people say I’m crazy. Things like, “You spent all that time cranking out all those titles, now you should be working hard on marketing them.” To that, I say screw it. With any luck, over time the art will stand on its own. If not, at least I’m enjoying the ride; hell addicted to the ride. Besides, how often will I get an opportunity to travel to a Quichua Indian village deep in the Amazon jungle and witness a traditional shaman healer perform his magic?
Obviously a rhetorical question. We only have one finite life. At least in the physical realm. Who the hell knows what happens after that. And I believe travel is not only the best education a person can get, but in my case a necessary accelerant to refuel my fire for writing; inspire me with dramatic, educational and (let’s hope anyway) compellingly entertaining material.
I plan on spending some time in Quito, a city rich in history and culture, situated high in the Andes and surrounded by picturesque mist-covered mountain peaks. Then it’s off to The Oriente, a vast jungle landmass with unparalleled biodiversity and spectacular awe-inspiring, raw beauty. Nature, truly at its finest.
Also on the itinerary is The Galapagos Islands, a wonder of nature that, according to Lonely Planet, “might inspire you to think differently about the world…Nowhere else can you engage in a staring contest with wild animals and lose.” The animals have no fear of humans.
Also on the list is the big modern city of Guayaquil, the gateway to the Costa Del Sol, where Esmeraldas, Isla de la plata ( the poor person’s Galapagos), Montanita, Canoa and Manta make the cut but not necessarily in that order. The beauty of the itinerary is that it is not etched in stone. If I like a particular place, I may just decide to hang around a little longer. I know that after the initial sightseeing burst of activity, I’ll be looking to lock in a peaceful hotel by the beach in some sparsely-populated village where I can admire the ocean view daily and tap into its seductive beauty to inspire the creation of more words.
Perhaps more important than the sights, I hope to meet locals and pick their brains to find out what makes them tick, what are the things they hold dear to their hearts, what motivates them, and what are they really like on the inside. I’ve often said when the world becomes too boring, mundane or stressful, I tend to retreat into the familar comfort of my wild imagination. But not this time. This time, I’ll also be retreating into a country vibrantly alive with beauty, culture and history and a resilient people who, so I’ve read, are inherently friendly and happy for the most part.
At least I can talk the talk (it’s a Spanish speaking country and I’m fortunate to be conversant in the language). Time will tell if I can walk the walk. But the journey has already started. In Terror In Ecuador, 17,000 words later, the stage has been set for my arrival in Ecuador. The story will unfold as my adventure unfolds. Perhaps reality will be stranger than fiction. And the beauty of creating that way, is it’s unstructured, passionately raw and real; elements many writers claim constitute the ingredients of a good yarn. Look at Hunter S. Thompson.
Who knows, on Christmas day, I might find myself having dinner with a poor Ecuadorian family and I might be the one playing Santa Claus bearing gifts and food. To truly be able to provide for others less fortunate on this important holiday would surely bring me a joy and satisfaction unmatched by any Canadian Christmas celebration.
Without further adieu, let the adventure begin.
Happy holidays! Feel free to offer comments, advice or travel tips in the comments section below.
And, as always, thanks for stopping by.