Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nerdiness and Research

I love researching for a new novel. Does that make me a nerd? I spend hours on the internet looking for details and tidbits that might help the story come alive for the reader. I search newspapers and libraries, and if a location is within a reasonable distance, I take a field trip. Those are the best!

I took such a trip this week. I'm on spring break, so I left children, husband and pets at home and hit the road. My destination was the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee. The drive there was beautiful. Once you cross the Ohio River into Kentucky the landscape is so pretty. I love the rolling hills as you pass by the cattle and horse farms. The mountain views farther south are spectacular. The only part of the drive I didn't like was over the top of Jellico Mountain in the dark. It was WINDY! I dodged tractor trailors with every gust.

When I start a novel, I keep a research binder that includes a tab for images. Here are some of the images I collected on my trip:

Peacocks and peahens were everywhere on the museum grounds. This pretty girl was out in the open, but most of them were hidden under bushes or in flower beds. Sometimes it surprised me when I'd unexpectedly spot one right by my foot. It was somewhat like an Easter egg hunt, but with colorful birds instead.


How many peacocks do you see?

Nothing was wasted. This is a mule shoe chair. The sculptures were made from used matchsticks.



My Papaw had a collection of hats very similar to these. He'd be 107 years old in 2011...

Papaw also had a pump organ in one of the upstairs bedrooms. It took two of us to play it -one to pump the foot pedals and one to tickle the (real) ivory.

This made me giggle...

I think I have to include this in a story! Also, I love the name of the quilter...

There were only about five other people at the museum while I was there. There are indoor exhibits as well as outdoor. I met this gentleman in the last cabin I visited. He was singing "I'll Fly Away."  There was no one else around, so I joined in and sang harmony. When we finished, he grinned and said, "That was fun. Would you like to do another?" We ended up singing a few more before I had to go. He was right. It was fun!

The museum grounds were beautiful.


I highly recommend a trip to the Museum of Appalachia!

On my way back home, I decided to take a side trip through Cumberland Gap. I wish that I'd stopped and taken more pictures along the way, but I had to get back to Cincinnati on a deadline. I did take a few pictures from the pinnacle of Cumberland Gap. Just so you know, it was really cold up there!

Keep Writing!
Nora

15 comments:

Bish Denham said...

Beautiful and how nice that you were able to get away and do some research.

Medeia Sharif said...

Looks like an amazing trip. I'd like to visit Tennessee someday. I also get lost in research. I usually just need one notebook and I bookmark important websites.

Nora MacFarlane said...

Bish - My youngest is 13 and a wonderful cook. It's nice to be able to get away every now and then and know they can take care of themselves!

Medeia - Tennessee is beautiful. I hope you get the opportunity to visit.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

It sounds like you had an amazing trip! I'd love to take a research trip to Leek, England. I haven't been there since I was a little girl. I doubt I'll go on my next trip to England...seeing my grandparents is more important right now....maybe when I get the novel done I'll go to fact check. :)

Julie Musil said...

Wow, that looks amazing! I also love the name of that quilt, and would love to know the story behind it. And the gap picture is gorgeous.

Kelly said...

What a beautiful, scenic trip! And for your story - even better!
I wonder what the story is behind the murder quilt!

Niki said...

Fantastic photos. Is there four peacocks? What a wonderful place for them.

Jeanne said...

I love these kinds of places. I also am a gifted teacher although I am currently a curriculum specialist but I taught a number of years in gifted elementary ed classes. This would have been a great trip for my kids.

Christina Lee said...

How awesome-- I love that you joined in the singing!!

Susan Calistri Boesger said...

Sounds like a great trip! I've never been to the museum, though we visit Tennessee every summer. It's a favorite hiking and nature retreat. Thanks for sharing!

Anne Spollen said...

I like research, but I have to limit myself or it becomes a way to avoid starting.

Great pics -- absolutely love that mule shoe chair!

Marcia said...

I love research of any kind, and the mule chair is my favorite picture, although that peacock's tail is awesome.

Nora, I think you might want to visit my blog and scroll down to the 4/18 post...

Nora MacFarlane said...

Yay! Thank you, Marcia!!

Adrienne said...

Beautiful scenery. I've lived not too far from that part of the country - so this post makes me a little homesick!

Rena said...

Beautiful pictures!