I just went on vacation. It was nice, lovely and cool in the Appalachians. I love the ocean, I really do. Living a mere fifteen minute drive from the beach certainly has its perks, but there's something about the mountains that tugs at my soul. I think, one day in the (perhaps distant) future I'm going to write a novel that captures that feeling.
Anyway, back from that rabbit trail, I found myself completely free in the mountains. When I go on vacation I always make a specific point not to work on my projects. It used to take an awful amount of discipline to tear me away from my writing for so long. Now I do it well enough. So if I don't write in my leisure time, what do I do?
I hang out with my awesome family and I ingest stories.
I'm obsessed with good stories. Some might say I'm a storyholic. And when I stumble across a story that works, that captures my heart and really steals me away, I treasure it forever. There are many good books, movies and TV shows. There are many GREAT ones as well. But there are a select few that feed me, that keep me coming back to their storylines, even years after I know what happens. I reread books, rewatch movies and TV series just to relive that first experience of discovering such a great and emotionally-wrenching story arch.
What stories are these?
The Lord of the Rings (the books and the movies): As Tolkien is the father of modern fantasy, I've always paid homage to his works. The man was a genius, both on and off the page. While you're reading his world and his mythos become just as tangible and real as our own.
Harry Potter: If Tolkien is modern fantasy's father, then it goes to say that J.K. Rowling is its mother. I hold my ground in saying that the Harry Potter series is one of the great literary masterpieces of our generation. It will be studied and read for years to come. What I admire most about Ms. Rowling's work is how effectively (and subtly) she wove myth and lore into her series. Everything (every name, every place) means something.
LOST: I know there are many people who were dissatisfied with the way that the series ended. I was not one of them. LOST is a phenomenal study in character development and unexpected plot twists. By the end of the show you feel as if you personally know each and every character.
Firefly and Serenity: One of the most tragic events of modern television is that this series got canceled. Joss Whedon's foray into the space western made such an impact on its fanbase that they rioted when the show was cut and got a feature film in return. What I love about this series is the completely foreign yet familiar world they live in and the characters' camaraderie. Like LOST, you feel as if you know these characters on a first name, say hello from across the street basis.
Fables: My brother introduced me to these comics a little over four years ago. I love how they play with age old fairy-tale characters and cast them in a completely different light. Also, the series is quite extensively and beautifully illustrated.
T.S. Eliot: I know his poetry doesn't necessarily count as a "storyline," but I'm obsessed with it anyway. There's something about the way he strings words together that enchants me. I read his poems simply for the feeling their words convey.
What about you? What stories do you keep going back to?