The world according to Bren…

One of the features of this blog I plan to add, starting with this post, is a description of my “happy places.’    Every creator, whether writer, visual artist or peformance artist, needs to recharge his/her batteries.  Creative energy is not infinite.  It is not fair for us to expect to be able to continue creating/writing/sculpting/etc. without inspiration.

In the short term, many do this by reading, watching films, connecting/talking with others.  Meeting with other writers is always a way to get a short boost of this energy.  But it’s a short-term thing, at least for me.

As a self-admitted nature addict, I find myself drawn to the wild and natural places of the world. Some riddled with history, some just breathtaking by their remoteness.  When I’m there, I feel a tingle of energy buzzing through me.  I risk sounding “new-agey” by saying that.  But something within me connects with that place and I form a link with it.  I close my eyes and perceive it with all the senses: smells, sounds, the feel of the air and climate around me.  I take a mental snapshot of that place.  When I need a boost of that creative juice, many times, I sit in a quiet place (preferably outdoors, weather permitting) and close my eyes and visualize the remote place I have connected with.

Regularly, I will describe here where some of my existing “happy places” are, hopefully showing pictures I’ve taken.  I’ll try to describe what it is I get from that place and maybe share some unique perspective on it.

One of these places is Lastours, in France.  My bio does describe me as a Francophile, so of course I am partial to the land that Julius Caesar once described as La Bella Gallia — Beautiful Gaul (the ancient name of France).

Lastours, itself, is a place rich with history.  The valley walls reverberate with it.  Mysteries yet to be uncovered lurk there.  One of them, a discovery in the 19th century of a young girl who had been buried like an Egyptian princess.  She is called “La Princesse au Collier” and it has never been discovered who she was or why she was buried in that way.

The valley itself is a refuge, chosen by “Les Cathares,” the Cathar people to defend themselves from the joint crusade launched against them by the Pope and the King of France.

I don’t want to give a history lesson, here, but I did need to explain a little of it to give you an idea of the history which reverberates throughout this area: from the tiny village at the base of  hidden valley in the Southwest of France, through the caves once inhabited by prehistoric peoples to the decaying towers at the top of the hills.

The experience started on a climb through the museum in this small village and up a steep hill.  It was daunting, but worth it.  At the top, the view of the fresh, green valley below, dotted with Italian Cypress trees and verdant foliage.  The fresh smells on the breeze assailed me.  And I felt it.  The connection.

For more information on Lastours, go here

Do you have a happy place?  Or two?  Where is it that you feel that connection–that rejuvenation of your creative energy?

Stay tuned to this blog for more of my happy places–which range from the West Coast of the United States, to Alaska, to the Northwest.

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