Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Waste Time Productively - Part 2

Again, I say, diversify your hopper. What you put in to your writer's brain is as important - MORE IMPORTANT - than what you get out.

Of course reading is the number one food for your writerly brain. You need to be omnivorous in your habits. This morning, I read a small (incredibly sad) piece in the NY POST about a veteran who died after being left in an excessively hot jail cell on Riker's Island. I remembered that Riker's Island is near the location where book two in my trilogy takes place. And one of my supporting characters has a rap sheet. This reminded me that I need to research Riker's Island. And veterans. And anti-psychotic drugs.

All of this from a short piece in a newspaper I would normally not read.

So, in this installment of Wasting Time Productively, let me see if I can introduce you into something that you would not normally read - and hopefully it can spark creativity for you too.

Alta Obscura

Is there anything more evocative in writing than location? Place can be character, mood, voice and more. Alta Obscura is brilliant for discovering weird, wonderful, unexpected and REAL places.

The Catacombes of Paris

The Hidden Tunnels of Los Angeles

The Ghost Cities of Chernobyl

And of course, one of my favorite places, Philly's own Mutter Museum. Been here many times and it's a disturbing, awe inspiring visit. Plus the medicinal plant garden in the summer is heavenly.

If you are in the Philly area you should really visit the Mutter this spring, particularly to see this exhibit:
Image from Mutter Museum website, courtesy of Patrick Awa

Grimms' Anatomy

Magic and Medicine: 1812-2012

The bodies of fairy tale characters are rarely ordinary. They may be injured through acts of violence, healed or harmed by medicinal potions, or altered by magical transformations. Though many fairy-tale bodies belong to the realm of the marvelous, some have real-world counterparts. In honor of the 200th anniversary of the publication of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, this exhibit will present real-world examples of the sometimes gruesome or grotesque fairy tale bodies, along with instruments from and rare illustrated editions of these stories. On view in the Main Museum Gallery. Free with Museum Admission.

Go forth and waste time productively!


  1. So cool about those streets under L.A. That would be a great setting for a book!

  2. I know, right? Everything on Alta Obscura makes me think of a good book setting - especially as I'm only going as far as my backyard for vacation this year!


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