I took refuge in books at an early age. Books were my first escape. When the adult world around me became too confusing or hurtful, I found comfort in losing myself in stories with a strong sense of place.
Recently, in a year of turmoil and tragedy, I have taken refuge in childhood books with familiar and beloved landscapes. “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a favorite.
An orphaned girl called Mary is angry and sour when she arrives from India to her uncle’s house set amid the Yorkshire moors. There she meets Colin, a wild child of the moors with an affinity for animals and her sickly cousin who believes he is dying. Together, they bring a secret garden back to life. And in the process, heal themselves.
I have also been on a binge of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I love her crisp, clear prose. Her descriptions, most particularly of the wide open prairies of Missouri, captivate me. The howling winds and the fierce winter snows. The sun rising and setting over vast horizons. Swarms of grasshoppers so thick you can’t breathe.
These literary landscapes have been my sanctuary, and even more so after the recent fires that raged close by in Sonoma and Napa. Like snuggling under the covers, I have taken comfort in different worlds, different times.
And thus, for our second, free Writing for Resilience workshop, Kate Thompson and I are going to walk you through two-part write about a favorite literary landscape.
You don’t have to choose a childhood book. Just a book in which the landscape feels to you as if it is a character, or even the main character, such as the the moors in “Wuthering Heights”, or the Cornish coast of the Poldark series, or the vast prairies of Willa Cather.
Enjoy this free offering. It’s our way of using writing to help bring healing in troubled times. And please share your write, or simply the books you wrote about and why, below.