Monday, March 19, 2012

The power of stories


This scene at Half Moon Bay, on one of the Antarctic Islands, is so peaceful and so beautiful. But like life, this place is not always so tranquil. There have been times when this place has been, and still would be, a death trap.                                     Our trip to Antarctica in February offered not only amazing scenery but also wonderful and terrifying stories that began over a hundred years ago; of men driven by a passion for adventure, a vision of achievements unimagined by most,  and the courage to face hazardous and life threatening circumstances for months and even years. Men who dreamed of reaching the mysterious south pole or crossing the unknown continent of Antarctica from side to side. Men who were willing to face freezing temperatures, dangerous pack ice, isolation, starvation, exhaustion and possible death in order to carry out their goals.                                                                                                                                                                                        Walking in some of their footsteps, seeing the sights they saw, experiencing a little of the conditions they faced, reminded me of some of the lesser seen characteristics of human nature; those reserved for the few willing to push at the boundaries most of us refuse to cross. It made me wonder about the motivation of such men. Was it fame, excitement, curiosity, or sheer determination to face the seemingly impossible and overcome? Whatever drives such expeditions, they leave a legacy that enthralls, inspires and terrifies most of us mortals.                                                                                                                     Their stories will be told and retold for many years to come, and are certainly best heard and read while surrounded by wild seas and white jagged mountains, of huge  floating chunks of ice, katabatic winds that will blow a large man to the ground in seconds, hundreds of thousands of curious king penguins, elephant seals and albatross - all of which we experienced at different times during our journey.                                                                                                                                                     It was an unforgettable experience for me, again giving me a great appreciation of the wonder and beauty of God's creation, and also the resilence of human nature. It was also testament to the power and fascination of historical stories, and further inspiration to continue writing about the lessons we can learn from the past. 

9 comments:

  1. Agreed! The entire bible is set up to tell true stories for us to learn from today! You telling of your experience with Anartica was fascinating. Made me want to be there! ♥♥♥

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  2. A great blog, Carol. There must be a few novels in those Antarctic stories just waiting for you to write!

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  3. Sounds like it was a fascinating tour. Did you manage to imagine up any stories while you were there?

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  4. Wow! Must have been a wonderful experience being there, Carol. I fully agree about the power of story telling. That's what our lives are too isn't it? All joining together into the vast, boundless, amazing story of God. I have no doubt you will use the awesome once in a lifetime exper4ience in your writing.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Anusha

    PS Someone from our church too went to the Antarctica in Feb. His name is David Boyce. Wonder if he was in your tour group?

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  5. Very thought-provoking. Fiction writers are supposed to make sure that their characters' motivations are always clear—but as Carol pointed out, motivations are not always clear in real life! I don't know how we reconcile those positions.

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  6. What a wonderful adventure, Carol. Thanks for sharing. You captured the setting so beautifully.

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  7. Carol, your blog makes me want to go there and I don't even like the cold. Great read.

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  8. I love travelling for the way it stirs up the imagination. I see a mountain range and wonder how people ever found the courage to first cross it. I see an old building and wonder about the lives which began and ended there. So many stories waiting to be told. Thanks Carol. :)

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  9. Thanks for your comments. I can't say I'll be writing a story set in Antarctica any time soon. I'd have to do a lot more research for that. But the sense of adventure and courage that the place inspired helps me when I think of the characters in my own books. I think the Australian colony in the early days was a new frontier in many of the same ways the Antartic might have been, even though many of my characters were sent here against their will. Re characters motivations, Peter, I really don't believe anyone's motivations are altogether clear and pure. We humans have many mixed emotions, our hearts can deceive us very well. I think it's why our spiritual life and surrender to Jesus is so vital. Still, the machinations of the human heart and will are extremely interesting to write about.
    Not sure if your friend, David, was on cruise Anusha. We pretty much stuck with first names in mixing with others and while there was a David, I don't know his second name. We were travelling with Aurora, and left Santiago on 21st Jan, so you might check that out with him. There were other cruise ships doing pretty much the same route as us.

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