Thursday, July 9

To scoff at fireflies

We all know how important setting the scene is in drawing the reader into the world we're trying to create. God knows, I'm not the best at it but I keep trying. And I often look to other writers for inspiration and guidance, if only in their words.

I was recently reading an anthology about faeries. And I'm in the first chapter of the second story, and and the author is waxing wonderfully about fireflies and a bog. I love a good firefly image and I am really enjoying it. The following paragraph she says that the 'property is an hour out of Seattle.' I stopped cold.

There are no fireflies around Seattle. North, South, East, or West. None. Nada. Zip.

See, I'm a Washingtonian born and bred. And I've been to all corners of the state at one time or another and have never seen a firefly. Neither has anyone I asked. It's too cold, rainy, and unpredictable for lightening bugs. Lack of fireflies being one of our only weaknesses as a place to live.

And just for the record, I'd know one if I saw it because I loved them when I lived in Norfolk, VA as a child. I loved running through the yard in the darkness and catching them in a baby food jar.

Back to the book. The author lost me. Sure, I finished the story (it was a short story), but I never got lost in the story. I started looking for more inconsistancies. And it wasn't like I expected reality, it was a fantasy book, after all.

I was perfectly willing to suspend disbelief that there were fairies in Washington. I told you it was the perfect place to live. And I'll be watching for fairies in my garden. Unfortunately, there
won't be any fireflies.

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