Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trips for writers: Finding inspiration at The Edision & Ford Winter Estates

 I've struggled to find an identity for my blog, and now I think I've found it. Trips for writers, whether virtually or in the flesh, is a great way to find inspiration. I've read agents blogs and many, many times they state very simply, "Stop writing and get out there and live." I mean really, how creative can you be when you are sitting at your lap top in your PJ's, listening the the garbage guys compact your recycling and hoping like hell that they don't wake up your baby? 3,2,1...Creativity officially sucked out of me.

 This week, I'm talking about Florida. I may talk about Florida for a long time, because I love it there. Sunshine, beaches, cheap gallons of milk. Really, they have it all. I experienced my first Krispy Kreme donut there, and was thrilled at the way that tiny fishies nipped at my toes on the beach in Destin.

Unfortunately for me, every single time we go there we have some sort of calamity occur (scorpions stinging in um, tender places, impacted hernias, protein spills at the Animal Safari, haunted beach houses that have beds that don't fit the frame, thus ensuring you slip lopsided all night long). It is enough to make a person want to stay home, and yet I still wish I could go back.

Florida is much more than the house of the Mouse (aka Disney World) or the epic thrill that is Islands of Adventures (that Spiderman ride is so much fun). If you take a trip down the hwy's to Fort Meyers, Sarasota, Long Boat Key, and Sannibel Island, you'll see a side of Florida that you (as a non-Florida native) never knew existed. This is great for people who don't live there and have no idea what Florida is all about.

By far my favorite part of Florida so far, and the place that I go in my mind for inspiration,  is The Edison and Ford Winter Estates.  To get there, you have to take a drive down a palm tree lined street and enter across the road where his labs are currently housed. When Edison lived there, there was no road, and those palm trees were planted by himself and his neighbors. It's truly amazing to see the gardens he planted. It was a windy day when we were there, and the bamboo trees were knocking together. I was standing outside by the swimming pool, and I literally never wanted to leave. The sky was obscured by the waving of the trees, and you felt like you were about to walk into a secret forest. They should make an audio recording of the sounds of those trees, they take me to my happy place. If you get there, sit down and listen for awhile.

I think if I lived there, I'd spend most of my time on this porch. The house is based right on an inlet, and they could walk out to their dock and watch the water swirl by them. It felt serene. You can imagine Thomas Edison and Henry Ford sitting and discussing ideas, mulling over research. They truly were an example of starting with a small thought and working it into a huge idea, much in the same way that writers do with novels.

Visiting his lab and discovering the many, many inventions he patented is really surprising. His lab is full of tools he used to fuel his research for a natural source of rubber. Light bulbs, record players, telephones, you can find them all in the museum and labratory.

As a writer, I find that I struggle to find the words to really describe this place. It is truly one of my favorite spots in Florida, and an excellent source of inspiration for anyone with a dream and an idea.

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