Dramatic Settings: Reflections from Sarah Barnes

Dramatic Settings: Reflections from Sarah Barnes

I am writing this blog entry in the back of a tour bus parked at the home of Icelandic Nobel Prize-winner Halldor Laxness, surrounded by an expanse of volcanic soil that swells into the peaks of small mountains that look like the knuckles of huge hands folded together in contemplation. Which seems fitting for a land of epic sagas and rich literary traditions. And sure, perhaps it is too easy to look to the dramatic landscape and say yes, of course this land is populated with writers moved to create epics that overlay this earth with monsters, magic, heroes, and trolls. How could it not be so with land like this as their setting? But as the rain taps like a metronome on the bus windows, urging me on in my typing, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I feel as if all the elements around me are undeniably evocative of the mysterious, the mystic, and the sublime. So maybe I’m easy, maybe I’m stating the obvious, but it just makes a kind of sense to me now that I am really here experiencing the inspiration of this landscape that I just didn’t fully grasp from reading about it. From the volcanic landscape that is at once otherworldly and idyllic, to the air so fresh it is almost alive, to the sound of unseen birds and sudden rains, to the constant mists and fogs that seem to dissipate and appear at will, there is inspiration everywhere here in Iceland, and since I’ve been at the IWR I’ve just been soaking it in.

Sarah Barnes was a participant  at IWR 2018. We will be sharing alumni stories in the coming weeks, so please send us any writing you would like us to share.”

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