Yes, that is a picture of a hot mess of smoked fish. Sardines to be exact. Whaaaat? Sardines? Aren't those the little tiny fish packed in vintage roll-top tins?
Sardines do indeed come packed in tins, but you can also buy them fresh out of the ocean and some of them are much larger. They are exquisite! Lots of tiny bones to deal with, so they must be eaten quite slowly. More on that. . .
My family and I just returned from two weeks of bliss along the California/Oregon coast. The trip began in Sacramento all the way to Cannon Beach, Oregon. We visited lighthouses, lots of windswept beaches where we were the only living souls. We hiked through redwood forests and along the sides of cliffs, visited the Sea Lion Caves, went crabbing in Nehalem Bay and ended our trip with bumper cars and a tilt-a-whirl in Seaside, Oregon--the end of the trail for Lewis & Clark.
Which brings me to the crux of my post. Every story is a journey--one that readers take with you. To be a better writer it is advantageous to travel, to visit other places, meet new people, even try different foods. Journeys enrich our souls, broaden our horizons and give us a better base of information to work with. Sure you can sit at a laptop and google everything you need to know about places and people, but you can never capture the feel of the place. The scent of a windswept beach is like no other. In the cooling breeze are the captured fragrances of seaweed and sand baked in the sun, of salt and briny depths, of charred driftwood from bonfires, the remnants of 's'mores--and more. No google search will bring those scents to life.
If you can't afford to go anywhere far, visit someplace closer. Travel will refresh you and inject new life and new ideas into your writing. Try it and see!
Now for the sardine story. The last week of our vacation was a family reunion at a beach house on Cannon Beach, Oregon. On the last evening of our trip, my husband's cousins decided to smoke some fresh sardines and mackerel. I had no concept of sardines out of a tin. But I was open to trying them and so glad I did! They were delicious. All I could handle were two. But Michael's cousin Linda is a chef, trained in France and quite amazing. She decided immediately what to do with the remaining fish. She would pick apart the fish, then prepare the pieces with capers and finely chopped onions and other ingredients that whizzed right by me as she spoke. We would be gone for that amazing meal, but I'm sure it was delicious.
Hope this post has inspired you to travel. If you do, be sure to keep a travel notebook and take lots of pictures for future inspiration behind the keyboard.
Linda is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” Ebooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, a local ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 23 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.
Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency
Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas. WoodsEdge Community Church, The Woodlands, TX.
Linda P. Kozar
Sweet Tea Fiction
Find me at about.me/LindaKozar