I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last three weeks in Maine, on the East Coast of the US. Wow, what a beautiful state! Some of my favourite writers are based in or are from Maine, such as Stephen King and Tess Gerritsen. Not to mention good old Jessica Fletcher. And it got me thinking about how somewhere with such natural beauty could produce such dark writing. What is it about the sea and the rocks and the sunshine that take writers to such dark places?
I found it easy to understand how you could be inspired to write, living somewhere like that. Perhaps the natural beauty allows writers to go deeper and darker because they have the sunshine to come back to. Perhaps the stunning scenery provides a contrast to the depravity of humanity to allow these writers to explore the depths of evil souls. Or perhaps the power and the strength of the sea and the timelessness of those rocks serves to remind the writers about how meaningless and transitive humanity is. Whatever it is, I’d like a piece of that action!
We also visited the House of Seven Gables in Salem, where Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his book of the same name. He’d taken inspiration from the history of the house he was staying in. His cousin later repaid the favour by taking inspiration from the story he’d written about the house and putting the house together to match Hawthorne’s fictional version. I like the idea of being inspired by a building; so much gothic horror must have come from the arch of a building or the loom of a gargoyle.
But what about those of us who don’t live in the spectacular landscape of Maine, or in a handy gothic horror home? Where do we find out everyday inspiration?
p.s. The picture is the House of Seven Gables… just in case you’re confused about why there’s no signs of that dark nature!