HAVING WHAT IT TAKES?
Over breakfast every morning for the past few weeks I have been reading a travel story and I mean a different one every day. It's been a journey of the senses with each and every bowl of muesli, and an exercise in containing my feelings of jealousy. Even though I'm loving the concept of me doing this kind of writing too, I've been getting more and more certain that other people are far better at travel writing than I will ever be. I have to try hard to believe I could actually do it anywhere near as well as the writer of this particular collection of stories. Her name is Lee Mylne and she's probably going to be coming in to our TAFE course to talk to us next month.
A life of journalism has lead her to where she now is with her writing. She's contributed to a bunch of books and travel guides, and she relates many of her travel stories in her blog 'A Glass Half Full', and that's also the name of her book that I've been reading over my brekky. So it comes without saying, she can write with eloquence. For me, the stories uncover her experiences so very well. It's not just the details - the what of the world she is seeing, the colours etc. But it's also the insight into how a place might make you feel, the people who touched her thoughts and heart while she's been out and about on her travels. To read her work feels like a little snapshot of her life on the road or on the journey, not always just the glossy bits, not only a 'travel brochure picture', but the less glorious parts of a journey, and even some bits that make you feel distinctly uncomfortable. I could almost feel the thicker air and unspoken feelings of sadness when a fellow passenger on her cruising trip in the Kimberley region of Western Australia passed away during the cruise. Her way of drawing the reader in to the journey is so much more than just an account of what happened or a facts list. You almost feel like you've been riding on the shoulder straps of her day pack. I really do appreciate that it's a skill honed over the years, but I also believe some of this ability is just a natural thing she's been blessed to have been born with.
I am left wondering again, was I born with enough natural ability to string the words together, and just how much do I need to practise in order to come close to the 'real thing'?