Thursday’s Children May 16, 2013

Inspired by fog…

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

Last week, Jessika Fleck’s TC post about snow sparked my idea for this post, in addition to time at the beach, during which I snapped these photos.

Photo by R. Wynn-Nolet

Photo by R. Wynn-Nolet

Photo by R. Wynn-Nolet

Photo by R. Wynn-Nolet

When I was in high school I wanted an airbrush, just so I could paint realistic mist and fog. Last week, on my way home, the sunny skies five miles inland gradually gave way to a thick fog blanket at the coast. It took only a few wisps drifting across the road to make my pulse race.

Fog is…atmospheric…transforming…disorienting…the sky brought down to our level. Otherworldly.

Sometimes, at the beach, people materialize out of the fog, right in front of me, like magic.

Fog makes an appearance in almost every book I’ve written.

Here are some excerpts about fog (which will also demonstrate that I don’t always write from a dark and twisty POV).

Unquiet Souls

The muffled sounds of waves lapping the shore enveloped us as we walked along the path. Clammy, salty-tasting mist turned the evergreens into feathery shadows. Our feet made almost no sound on the pine needles.

A slight puff of air on my right hand, like someone’s breath, raised goose bumps on the backs of both arms. I glanced behind us, but saw nothing.  Somewhere in the woods beside me a twig snapped. 

And later in that scene…

We kicked off our shoes and sat on a big boulder, above the seaweed line marking high tide…Droplets of moisture, like tiny crystal beads, collected on his hair. If only this moment could last indefinitely, the two of us in a cloud world, isolated from everything and everyone else.

If TENDRIL were actually a real book, mist might drift out from between the pages. It takes place in a fog-bound Maine town.

TENDRIL opening…

Sporadic blasts of the foghorn heralded our arrival at the lighthouse. The headlights illuminated the mist shrouding the island but couldn’t penetrate it. Once we were out of the car, fog clung to my skin like a veil. The air was thick with the smell of sea creatures, both living and dead.

Later in the book (“Pegasus” refers to her rickety bike)…

The fog was so dense I could taste its saltiness. Between the island and the mainland I flew among clouds, riding through the sky on my elderly Pegasus. The bleating of the foghorn and the disembodied cries of Canada geese seemed to come from the mist itself. I could see no more than a few feet in front of me… Had I not traveled the same route so many times I might easily have gotten lost.

Still later, in the voice of the male protagonist-

“Wait. Will you go out with me on Wednesday?”

“Yes…if I can…then I will.”

The way she said it gave me goose bumps. The bad kind. “What does that mean?”

“Well, you know, if I’m…free. There’s a chance I might not be. Goodbye, Dylan.” Before I could think of what to say, she disappeared into the fog, almost like she was part of it.

So, as you’ve read, I love the way fog can set a mood…ominous, romantic, mysterious. I think I need an “I ❤ Fog” bumper sticker. Or as we say here in Maine, bumpah stickah. Here’s a photo I took last fall. Those are my editorial assistants, getting a closer look at the boat.

Photo by R. Wynn-Nolet

Photo by R. Wynn-Nolet

Does fog appear in your writing? Do you like fog?

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53 thoughts on “Thursday’s Children May 16, 2013

  1. At the risk of being all Arnold Horshack, I have my hand up as high as it’ll go. I’ll stop short of the ‘Ooo’ing. I love the fog. “Fog is…atmospheric…transforming…disorienting…the sky brought down to our level. Otherworldly” Perfect description. I use it as a plot device in book two of my trilogy. It’s an impediment, and, of course, inspires a lot of superstition and rumor of intervention by the gods and or ill-intent spirits. Late in book three it makes a reappearance, and I love the bookend aspect. I’ve read warnings that using weather is clichéd, but I don’t care. I love the atmospherics it offers. And if it’s good enough for Kate Bush… Am I right?

    More awesome excerpts, Rhiann! There might be a future in this stringing-words-together thing for you. 😉

    • Ah, lovely Kate! And I don’t think using weather is cliched, though there may be cliched ways in which to use it – “It was a dark and stormy night…” Weather is a big part of any world. I hope to see some of your writing about fog some day 🙂 Fog-Lovers Unite!

  2. I love fog, although we don’t get a lot of it in Wisconsin. But when I was growing up on Vancouver Island, I loved waking up to the sound of the foghorn and peeking outside to see just how foggy it was.

  3. Oh I really like this- why haven’t I used fog before? Those excerpts were beautiful Rhiann- you just inspired me! : )

  4. How can you not love something so ethereal, so light of being, and yet powerful enough to snatch the world away in the blink of an eye?

    I think fog is a drug. It fits the the definition, right?–“any article, other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of humans or other animals.” It’s hallucinogenic, induces euphoria and/or fear, and dulls the senses.

    I’m addicted. 😉 I like your foggy blog. Good stuff, Rhiann.

    • Had to come back because I forgot I wanted to say your excerpts are exceptional . . . like the fog. 😛 Seriously wonderful. Can’t wait to read more. ❤

    • I’m addicted too and worried about withdrawal when we move… And how you can be less than confident about your writing chops never fails to astonish me. I mean, read that first line you wrote…come ON.

  5. Last week, Shakespeare, this week, Dickens (Bleak House).

    I had a materialisation once, when I was a flight attendant on a three-week haul to South America, where we had a layover in Brazil for a week. It was Lent, winter was approaching, and the weather was chilly. I decided to visit the Corvado. In order to get there I had to take the funicular up the mountain and then walk to the top to where Christ the Redeemer towers almost one hundred feet hight and overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro. By the time I arrived, the fog had rolled in from the bay and the statue was engulfed in a shroud of impenetrable mist. I waited and waited and waited. Eventually, after an hour or so, I decided to leave. Almost everyone else who had come up on the train with me had already left. Disappointed, I started back towards the steps, but something in me said, “Look again.” As I turned, the mist parted and the statue appeared like a vision from Above. And then, as quickly as it had parted, the mist rolled back in and the statue disappeared.

    • That sounds like an amazing experience! Fog/mist really enhanced my experiences in Britain (ruined castles, standing stones, and moors). It seems much easier to believe in alternative realities when the one you normally experience is barely visible.

  6. Fog is incredibly atmospheric and I love your extracts – just beautiful. Fog does feature in my children’s novel (a time travel adventure story) and it plays a vital role in distorting a battlefield so the children only see brief flashes of the violence unfolding through the fog. The battle that features in my novel is the Battle of Barnet and it really was foggy on the morning before the fighting started.

        • Haha…I did enjoy leading something of a double life. There used to be and annual R III meeting in NYC, and members went in period-appropriate costumes. My Aunt Sybil said she would take me, but then she never did. I was eagerly anticipating a houpelande and wimple… Shaving the eyebrows, not so much.

  7. LOVE this! Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, fog is pretty much a way of life. It sneaks in at the end of every day, and sometimes refuses to leave for several. It keeps us cool, in more ways than one.

    • If I ever moved to CA for some reason, that is where I’d want to live. Cool architecture, great Chinese food, and fog – what more could I ask for? Oh, and fun writer buddies 😉

  8. I love the idea of mist drifting from the pages of Tendril! When it’s published, I wanta get my very own copy, fog or no fog, but for now, I’ll have to just be happy with the fine writing I get to sample on your blog. Thanks, chica.

  9. Fog is my favourite too! There’s something magical about most of the world hiding under a blanket and only being revealed when you get closer, and disappearing again behindyou. Here on Vancouver Island February is really Foguary, and it’s my fav. month of the year! Gorgeous pictures, but I’ve always thought pics of fog don’t do it justice. It needs the smell too, right?

  10. You made some awesome points here that left me feeling rather desperate to go write a foggy scene in my book. Ooooh…and I just realized what scene fog would fit perfectly. I’m off to write it now! Thanks for the inspiration! And I’m back on Thurdsay’s Children. 🙂 Hope you stop by to say hi!

  11. I really loved this post Rhiann. Your writing is beautiful; I felt as though I was there with your characters. I haven’t included fog in my writing but reading this makes me feel it might be an idea – certainly to include more details about the weather anyway. 🙂

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  13. I agree with pretty much everything already said – beautiful pictures and exerpts. I love fog too – the way it can roll in quickly and hang over a place for ages. The enveloping silence. Has been present in many memorable (seared on your memory type) experiences in my life.

    Oddest (in a funny / unusual way) was in Scotland. We were driving through heavy fog, when we saw a lit up sign saying ‘fog’. Because if it’s that foggy you need a sign to tell you that right? Then the next week we saw in the paper someone had had a car accident because the sign hadn’t been working… Guess I was wrong.

    • Now, that’s just silly, in a tragic kind of way. What happens when it’s so foggy, even a lit up sign is hidden? Rhetorical question… I’ve driven in fog here that’s so thick I could barely see five feet in front of the car – didn’t dare stop (figure someone would hit me from behind).

  14. Ha! Glad I could spark some inspiration in you from something you loathe (snow)!!! And, love, love, love this post and the photos and the excerpts and now I ❤ fog too! I've never written about it, probably because I've never really experienced it, but I totally want to!

    • Well, when I win Powerball, I’m totally building a writer’s retreat on the coast of Maine and inviting all my writer-friends. To know fog is to love it…

  15. I adore fog. The otherworldly sensation of it always gives me goose bumps and I can’t help but think of the possibilities of what might be hiding in the mist. Fog often plays a role in my stories. 🙂

  16. Just visiting Thursdays Children this week, and so glad I swing by. I LOVE fog, and love the spooky atmosphere in your stories. I’ve been a fan of making my own fog in photos since high school (by breathing on the lens) and recently got a nice new camera with an awesome Leica lens that brought the old trick back to me. Loving it already.

  17. I love fog–when I’m not driving.

    A lot of people thing Vermont is all mountains and valleys, but I live near Lake Champlain which has a rocky shoreline vaguely like Maine and fog! However, it’s missing the salt aspect and the waves are a bit runty and the fog not as frequent. Okay, it’s not like Maine but it’s beautiful and inspiring too.

    • Lake Champlain is gorgeous! You’re right about what’s “missing”, but am I mistaken in thinking it has something like Nessie? That would certainly add some mysterious ambiance.

  18. Ah, Fog. You’ve found my writerly Achilles heel. I definitely need to try it out for scenes. Especially in the way you’ve described it – isolating, insulating. Too much, I think, I try to control everything with clarity. But isn’t it the beauty of what remains to be discovered that compels us to turn the page?

    Good inspirations!

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