by Kristine Coblitz
I read an article this week about the famous horror writer H.P. Lovecraft that interested me. I must admit that I've never read his work nor do I know much about him. It appears, however, that he has somewhat of a cult following.
The article stated that Lovecraft had the words "I AM PROVIDENCE" engraved on his tombstone because he identified so much with the New England city. He grew up near Brown University. Some of his books were set in downtown Providence. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Lovecraft's death next week, visitors can participate in a festival and walking tour of places the famous writer frequented in Providence during the time he lived there.
The walking tour is what intrigued me, and I began to think about it in terms of my own existence. What would a walking tour of my life consist of? Hm. Most of us know that writers don't exactly live glamorous lives. Well, unless you're Janet Evanovich or Stephen King, I guess.
Most of my life is spent inside my home office, where I laboriously write articles and plug away at the pages of my crime fiction novel. A tour of my working space would reveal piles of magazines, a portable filing case that serves as my technical writing organizer, a filled bookshelf that covers an entire wall, my desktop computer (used for editing) and laptop (used for writing), some pictures of my husband and dog, and a half-empty cup of tea. Oh, and also my candy dish of emergency Hershey Kisses (but that's our secret, okay?).
A tour of my neighborhood haunts would include the local Walmart for supplies, the Starbucks where I occasionally go to write, and the Giant Eagle where I go grocery shopping every Friday night. Every month I travel the turnpike to Mystery Lovers Bookshop. I suppose visitors could tour the Shop 'n Save in Shaler where I worked after high school and met my husband, the University in downtown Pittsburgh where I went to college, or the nightclub in the Strip District where I got really drunk in public for the first time. Wait, that nightclub isn’t there anymore. Well, it is but under a different name. I'm sure the bathroom where I met my alcoholic demise is still in the same place, though.
Not exactly worthy of a festival or paid walking tour, I know, but kind of fun nonetheless. This exercise works well when creating fictional characters, too.
I invite all of you to brainstorm with this idea. Take us on a walking tour of your life. What would we see?