Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inspired by...

I don’t take pictures often, but when I do, I always have a few that puzzle people. Mainly because the pictures are usually of rocks and/or trees. I get story ideas from the strangest things, I know. There’s just something about an interesting tree or odd rock shape.

Gloria Oliver took a picture for me of a tree in a park in Portland, OR. That particular tree seemed to have an opening that resembled a maw in its base – and where would that maw lead to (unless it really is a mouth on a particularly hungry and evil tree?

So a recent trip to New Zealand and Australia for two science fiction conventions (Au Contraire and Aussiecon/Worldcon) recently resulted in the usual – more pictures of trees. And some rocks.

But really, who could resist taking a picture of the path (in a nature reserve called Zealandia) winding between two trees? Not I. One of my friends pointed out that it’s similar to a scene in The Crystal Throne – the hidden entrance to an elf village. But I was getting several other story ideas when I saw it. Time will tell which ones will win out.

And then there’s this interesting tree with numerous branches along one side. I'm definitely going to have to describe this tree in a story at some point.

The whole length of pebbled beach and the nearby cliff face is all gray but yet just a bit off shore is a collection of red rocks. There’s a story idea there that will probably be moved to an alien planet.


The lichen on the rocks in this rock garden reminded me of Jeanne's solution in Talking to Trees.

The fallen tree supported by the big branches of the second tree suggested one idea. However, the green of the orchids growing along the fallen tree resembled a garden that some arboral or avian species could use.

So, when I'm asked 'Where do you get your ideas?', there are times when I can point to a picture. And then I'll get stranger looks than usual.


  1. Great pics! I totally am with you on that. Great photos/locations are teeming with the life of stories.

  2. That first picture made me think of the tree in the Sleepy Hollow movie. The one that Johnny Depp is in. Of course, your picture isn't scary like the tree in the movie, but that was my first thought when I saw the picture.

  3. Lovely photos, Kathy. You're so right. Pictures tell stories. I always wonder what an old tree's story is, what it's seen over the years. Clouds too fascinate me, as well as wildflowers. Have fun with your imagination.

  4. Trees, rocks, moss! I am so with you on taking pictures of none standard things. :)