Friday, September 23, 2016

Fired-Up Friday

Up in the Hills

I would venture to say that most of what fiction writers write about is make-believe. We make things up in our heads and then put them into words and hope it makes a good story. Although I set stories in real places in real states and with real landmarks, I usually like to invent my own towns and streets, etc. It’s strange, though, how sometimes the made-up stuff suddenly becomes real and you find a place that you had only imagined really does exist.

This happened recently on our trip through the West. While in Wyoming near the Tetons, we ventured up into the hills to try a little metal detecting. Our son, who lives there, had discovered an old abandoned cabin and out buildings and had gone there previously to poke around. The ride up was a bit bumpy, and bumpy is to put it mildly, on a washboard road, and took us into some rather remote country. When we got there, this is what I saw.


I am nothing if not a picture-taking fool when we’re traveling around the West, so the first thing I did while the guys were busy looking for buried treasure was take pictures (all the while clinging to a metal canister, as I was also the designated keeper of the bear spray). It was a lonely spot, a good place to hide if you didn’t want to be bothered by the world, and it dawned on me that I had imagined this place before and put it into my book, Chance’s Return. It’s the place where Chance goes to hide and try to come to grips with a tragedy in his life, and the place where he goes to avoid making a commitment to Casey, the young widow he has fallen in love with. Looking around at the old cabin and decrepit corral and outbuildings, I felt amazed that even though I’d never been to this place in the hills before, I had imagined it perfectly. It really did exist!


 I’ve written here about how, when I first came to this part of the country, I had the feeling of coming home to a place I’d never been before, and so I have to wonder is it true? Was I here in another time? Or is it just a coincidence? I’m not sure I believe in reincarnation, but seeing this old cabin in the hills that bears so much resemblance to the one I’d imagined in my story, I just have to wonder. I also wonder, who lived there? Was it a homestead? A hunting cabin? The place where someone went to hide from the rest of the world? The cabin was well-built and had been used recently by what I suspect were kids who wanted to find a place to drink and not get caught. It was also a little mysterious, with photos left behind by someone who maybe, like Chance, was trying to forget a heartache.


While we didn’t find any treasure, other than an old tin lid and some bullet casings, I still wonder what secrets that old cabin holds. What other stories it could tell. Maybe it will appear in the sequel to Chance's Return that I’m writing, which ironically starts out:

            This is it. This is the place. It really does exist.



P.S. While we didn't encounter any bears, a few days later a bow hunter was mauled by one while making elk calls not far away.   



Gina Conkle said...

Thanks for sharing this Lucy. I love the connection between your story and the real cabin you visited. The pictures make me want to go there.

Lucy Naylor Kubash said...

Thanks, Gina. It was a bit surreal but now I want to go back, too!

Unknown said...

Lucy, you are definitely in tune with that part of the country. Your description is written with depth and emotion. Your stories show a wonderful insight of what you're writing - nothing made up, as you've just discovered in the old cabin. Wow! I love the beginning of your next book and look forward to reading that one. You go, girl!!

Lucy Naylor Kubash said...

Thank you, Loralee! A little encouragement from a dear friend goes a long way.