Monday, March 28, 2011
The Things You Do For Love (And Research)
1) Traveled to Fort Bowie in southern Arizona. Think of the strangest, most desolate Twilight Zone episode you've ever seen. Sprinkle in some heat, rocks, and prickly cactus and you've got Fort Bowie. You can practically feel the spirits of The Apache Kid and Geronimo floating around at this historical site. Very spooky. The battles at this site are legendary.
2) Watched lots of episodes of MAN VS. WILD, especially the episodes where the hunky Bear Grylls survives in the desert. The one where he had to claw his way out of the Sonoran Desert was particularly cool. Who knew there were so many uses for creosote and octotillo?! I'm a total sucker for the survival shows.
3) Experimented with plants. Finding water in the desert is a challenge and I wondered how people did it back before you could simply turn a faucet. I'd read somewhere that the desert always provided, despite its harshness. That's kind of stuck with me. Since the desert is full of nothing but cactus and dry washes (especially when there hasn't been any rain in months), I wondered whether you could get water from a barrel cactus or saguaro. You can. At the base of the cactus, where the plant holds its water, you can make a slit between the spines and draw water. Careful, though. Those needles are killer. You won't find gushing water but there is definitely moisture.
Writers: Have you had to do any research lately? Readers: Do you notice the details of well-researched novels?