Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Home from Europe!

Hello, fellow writers! I am home from Europe, changed in so many ways. I know everyone says that, and it annoys me to have to admit it, but if I am to be honest I must acknowledge that I am not quite the same person I was two weeks ago when I left America. My soul expanded, for one thing, and if you have not felt that tearing, joyful, painful feeling of a soul's expansion, I do feel sorry for you.

 I was true to my word and wrote in my travel journal religiously, recording anything and everything for future enjoyment. At the end of the two weeks I had 104 pages. So there. Here is proof from one of the four cameras that were constantly catching me filling the notebook:

Many places were inspiring to me, writing-wise, but I think perhaps the place that most caught me off-guard and will end up in a book was the cathedral, Maria Radna:

From the outside, it was grand and imposing. 

This basilica, built in 1520, was massive. I stepped through the immense wooden doors and the temperature dropped twenty degrees and my breath came in puffs, and I was dizzied with the splendor. It's hard to  get an idea of just how huge this place was. Put it this way: When I tipped my head back to look at the painting in the topmost dome, I tipped over because it made me too dizzy. Furthermore, the photo below is half-way down the length of pews in that gigantic sanctuary:

I was torn between complete admiration for this gorgeous place, and sadness that the glory of it is so passing, and the people who trust in the glamour will find themselves grasping wind. Behind the big alter-thing, there was a door. A DOOR! and then up in the ceiling were a series of random numbers and letters....my mind immediately began chucking and whirring like a Dutch-watch. Mark my words: Maria Radna will resurface in my literature someday. I promised.

Another event that inspired me to no end was the night we had dinner in a gipsie mansion. No lie. The pastor of the village-church we were visiting that night was friends with a gipsie man who had offered to open his home to us. It was....bonkers. We ate off of real silver and drank out of real gold, and stood under behemothian porcelain chandeliers that I expected to crash onto my head in a Xerxes-esque manner any moment.

(This is only about two-thirds of the house)
Our hosts were so generous and kind...and I laughed my head off when they closed the heavy oak doors of the dining room and a village pastor asked us to sing "I'll Fly Away" while he played the guitar. The incongruity of it all was so hilarious. But we did. We sang a Bluegrass hymn in the dining room of a legitimate gipsie-mansion, surrounded by a sea of rum-bottles. 

At the end, we took a group photo on the elaborate staircase. Again, these photos aren't quite giving credit to the enormity of the house. I was so blessed by the gipsies' hospitality, especially since they are Orthodox, and the Orthdox hardly ever even talk with the Baptists. Definitely a special night.

There were many other things that will end up in my books someday, I am sure. So many things that I will tell you in small doses. I am so glad I purposed to write in my travel-journal, and that I got so many pages. I won't forget, this way. Little impressions and memories that can't find a way to come out in words just yet. People I met and places I saw. Oh my goodness. I can now heartily recommend travel for giving one inspiration. Not just the fact of gathering experiences to incorporate in writing, but also the very fact of getting up and about. Gaining thoughts and impressions and emotions that might never show up directly in a book, but will forever color your heart. Yes, travel is a very good thing. 

Now the business at hand is to find where the dickens I left off with my writing. I had given myself a break of nearly two months as I focused on preparing for the trip, and I was stuck finding comp titles for Fly Away Home, and I was in between a dozen stories if I was one and....well, I won't fret my head. I'll just start writing because you know, and I know, that that is the only way to be a writer. :)


Anonymous said...

PICTURES. Oh, the pictures. Just the pictures, which I am sure don't do the real thing a smidgen of justice, are inspiring. Full of writer-juice.


Joy said...

Beautiful, and inspiring - that's all I can say. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos, Rachel... I can imagine how such an experience would have blessed and changed you some... sighs, and ah, all the writerly inspiration I am sure you gained!

May the Lord Jesus bless you, Rachel.

Esther Brooksmith (wisdomcreates) said...

The pictures are amazing, and I love the fact that you recorded so well in your travel diary. But I know what you mean about some impressions that can't even be put into words...yet.
Wow, the gipsie-mansion sounds thrilling...and overwhelming. It ought to go in a book somewhere, too.
...But I was surprised by the gipsie-mansion. Do gypsies live in mansions? Somehow I had always pictured them in a nomadic life-style. It seems I learn something new everyday.

Homeschool on the Croft said...

You will always be glad you wrote so much down ... You think you will never forget amazing experiences you have, but when so many experiences roll into each other, you do forget. These photos are wonderful, and the stories that go with them even more so!
The gypsy mansion?!!!!!!! You couldn't make this stuff up! (Oh, I think you may have used that expression yourself... Great minds, eh! ;) )

Keep 'em coming