Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cheating artistic license

I recently returned from Chicago. Modern day Chicago. A city I'd never been to before but which I converted into a futuristic dystopian city for my own convenience to write Smitten Image. I cheated. Because writing about a place you know and have spent time in honors the truth of your story. Even if you convert it. Chicago was not what I imagined, therefore what I imagined to write Chicago in a futuristic dystopian setting did not ring true. I can't even pretend it was artistic license.

Now I have a sense of Chicago, a beautiful city for the most part. As cities go. My daughter and I spent a day walking the shore to a bird sanctuary. Very cool. Right there in the heart of urban madness. But the skyscrapers pinned to the sky make it hard to breath. They squeeze, quite literally. The L-train is a constant sound like wind blowing somewhere. My mind made it into wind so I could sleep. Riding the "L" was an experience, not frightening, but not comfortable for one who has an inner ear disease to make her vertically challenged. Underground on the "L"... well, the less said about that the better.

Home now in Montana I do not regret my trip. I had reason to be frightened though I never saw any  disturbing behavior that scared me. The beggars are disturbing. I was told not to meet their eyes. I was told not to give them money. They got my compassion, nothing more.

I came home to so much, with my home, my garden, my view of the mountains, my dogs, my Montana life. I came home ignorant, with no comprehension of why people choose to live in cities. I did not learn or understand what is there that anchors them.