You Have Homework

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I’ve spent much of the last two weeks researching the history of the county where I live in preparation for a new series I’ll be starting soon. I’m nowhere near done, but I’ve enjoyed the journey and I’ve learned a lot. It struck me while I was working that I always assume the history of the place where I live is boring–it doesn’t matter whether I’m talking about the town where I grew up, the town where I went to college, or any of the other places I’ve lived–but time and again, I’ve been proven wrong.

History takes place everywhere, so it stands to reason that every place has a history.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But it’s easy to forget.

The county where I live now has been plagued by pirates, fires, disease outbreaks, wars and battles, natural disasters, and any number of other horrors. It’s fascinating! And as has been the case with my other books, I’ve enjoyed the research so much that I have been reluctant to put on the brakes and actually start writing.

This misconception of mine, this belief that nothing interesting has ever happened where I live, reminded me of a similar phenomenon that I’ve noticed before. I call it “ignoring my own backyard” and I’ll give you an example. I lived in and near New York City for almost nine years. I never visited the Statue of Liberty. Never saw Ellis Island. Here’s another example: I lived in Louisville, Kentucky, during late spring/summer one year. Never visited Churchill Downs (not that I’m a fan of horse racing, but the racetrack looks pretty interesting).

I could give anecdote after anecdote until I’m blue in the face, but you probably get the picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of your own life and never venture out to see what your community or your environment has to offer. Sometimes those offerings are tourist traps, but often they’re not. I think we get involved in the busyness of every day and when we contemplate visiting some of those places, we tend to think, “I can visit that place anytime. It’s just down the road.” Or “My kids went there on a school trip, but I just haven’t had time. I’ll get there one of these days.” But very often we never get there.

I’m thinking of one place in particular, a place near my home, a place I’ve never been, a place I’m planning to visit soon. It’s been there for three hundred years and it deserves a closer look. It’s on my list of places to see before summer is over. Who knows? It may end up in my next book.

So that leads me to your homework assignment. Try visiting someplace new this week-someplace near your home, someplace you’ve never been. A place you’ve overlooked driving down the road, a place you pass every day on your way to work. If it’s a museum or other facility that helps you learn more about the history of where you live, you get bonus points.

Where are you going to go? I’d love to hear about it.

Until next week,

Amy

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25 comments on “You Have Homework

  1. Mary Ann says:

    Amy –What a GREAT idea. I’ll put it o my list of things to do this summer. I’ll let you know where we go!
    Mary Ann

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  2. atkokosplace says:

    You are so right…we can get caught up in our daily life that we forget to go outside of it. I’ve been making trips that take me to new places. Even a new eating place is a nice adventure since I cook most of everything I consume. Great post! Have a lovely day! Koko 🙂

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  3. If the weather isn’t too hot or it doesn’t rain, I’ve planned an excursion to a Karst a few blocks away from me. I’ve had the itch for five years. Yeah. F.i.v.e. years. 😀

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  4. noelleg44 says:

    This is a great challenge and I will take it up as soon as I recover from four days of sightseeing in Chicago, where we used to live and never did the sights!

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  5. marlainagray says:

    Reblogged this on Marlaina Gray and commented:
    Excellent challenge, Amy!

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  6. Sharon Aguanno (ArmyMom) says:

    Ahh… Life getting in the way of good intentions… Yes indeed, I know it well… Of course this is a difficult week for me to take on a new challenge, since I start my trek to NY on Friday morning. By car that is (LOL). I often think about stopping along the way, but having a dog with me makes it difficult.

    Interesting that you should bring this up this week, I have been thinking about this very thing all week. Not for me, but for my granddaughters. I plan on taking them to see the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt Estates in NY, next Saturday. (if all goes well). They love Castles and Estates. I took my son there when he was 5 and he loved it, and loves history.

    You mention Ellis Island, I too, have never been there, after spending the first 40 years of my life in NY… LOL… However, my youngest has. He has a pic (I will share it with you when I find it). of him standing beneath a picture on the wall. This man he is standing under, could be his father. That is how much they look alike… It was shocking, to say the least. I would love to know who he is.

    I am hoping to get some exploring in this summer, and hopefully get some good pictures for my girls to remember when they grow up. I actually scrap-booked the 3 years we spent in AZ, and my granddaughter comments about it all the time. She says she doesn’t really remember some of it, but she loves looking at the scrapbooks. That is what it is all about.

    So, in addition to visiting someplace of interest, I challenge you to take pictures and scrapbook or journal your journey. 🙂 AND Have Fun…

    As Always, “Keep Reading and Writing”.

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    • amreade says:

      Since you have such a long week ahead of you, I’m giving you an extension on your homework! I think your granddaughters are very lucky–I hope you all have fun and make lots of memories when you visit the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt Estates.

      I also think it’s a great idea to document new experiences with photos and scrapbooks. My kids love looking through old photo albums. I’m definitely going to accept your challenge to take more pictures of the things we do locally!

      Safe travels this week–oh, and you also get an A+ on the homework assignment!

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  7. I’ve just moved to a new town (this past fall) and am determined to learn all about it. Today, I’m joining a local hiking group to discover one of the town’s amazing hilly wooded hiking trails. Wish me luck! I notice that we do the same thing with people we know well (just as with the places we live). We think we know everything about them, and oh noooo, there is so much more to explore and discover about their lives, if we just take the time to really know them.

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    • amreade says:

      Joining a hiking group is a great idea. You can kill two birds with one stone (not literally, of course)–you’ll learn more about your new town and hopefully meet some new people! I think you make a great point about the people in our lives. If we slow down and take the time to get to really know someone well, we’ll probably find there’s so much more to them than we realized. And I would take that a step further–it’s easy to become complacent and content with our circle of friends, to the point where we don’t try to meet new people. It’s important to get out of our comfort zone once in a while. I’m so glad you stopped by and left your comment. Thanks and good luck today!

      A+ on the homework, by the way! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Running out of story ideas? Try this challenge from Amy 😀

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