Thursday, July 19, 2018

I’d Love To Read About: Watery Places And The Afterlife




Have you ever learned a strange fact or seen an unusual place and thought, I wish there were more books about that? It happens to me all the time. Authors, if you’re listening, here are four unusual things that I wish somebody would write about. (Or take inspiration from. I’m not picky!)







I’d Love To Read About . . .






Great Dismal Swamp, USA



First, Great Dismal Swamp is the best name ever for a swamp. I like when names are extremely literal. This swamp is full of dense vegetation, blood-sucking bugs, venomous snakes, and black bears. It really is dismal.

The swamp is located on the East Coast of the US, in the states of Virginia and North Carolina. Even though the swamp is dismal, it has been inhabited by humans for 13,000 years. The most interesting inhabitants were the Maroons, refugee slaves who escaped from slavery and mingled with tribes of indigenous people. The swamp is awful, but it’s a good hiding place. Between the 1600s and the 1860s, thousands of people lived in the swamp’s hidden villages. Maroons were rarely captured by white slavers because their settlements were so difficult to find. Generations of people were born and raised in secret villages deep in the swamp.


Source & More Info


(If you’re interested in the Great Dismal Swamp Maroons, check out Dread: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp by Harriet Beecher Stowe, "The Slave in the Dismal Swamp" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, or A Desolate Place for Defiant People by Daniel Sayers.)












Cenotes



I’ve actually seen a cenote in real life. You can find them all over the world, but the one I saw was in the Yucatàn in Mexico. A cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole that’s full of water. The water is usually very clear and blue from being filtered slowly through limestone. Oftentimes, cenotes are connected by labyrinths of water-filled caves.

The Yucatàn has very few natural lakes or rivers. That’s why ancient Mayan cities were built around cenotes. The Mayans believed that the cenotes were gateways to the afterlife, so they tossed valuable objects (and a few human sacrifices) into the holes. It’s believed that many ancient cities were abandoned after the local cenotes ran dry.


Source & More Info













Cliffside Coffins



One of the problems for any society is what to do with the corpses. Some societies burn their dead on pyres; others bury their dead in cemeteries or store them in crypts. In some parts of China, Indonesia, and the Philippines, the dead are hung from cliffs. The coffins are set on beams that have been pounded into the cliff face. In Southern China, the Bo people believed that placing the bodies high up on the cliff would make it easier for the dead person to find heaven. Hanging the dead also has a practical purpose: It protects the bodies from scavenging animals.


Source & More Info












Haesindang Park, South Korea



Art is weird.

In South Korea, there’s a park that’s famous for its penis statues. According to legend, a virgin woman drowned in the ocean near the park. After that, the villagers were unable to catch fish. They blamed the dead virgin for their problems. Starvation was thwarted when a well-endowed fisherman took a piss in the ocean. The virgin was so impressed by his genitalia that she allowed the fish to be caught again. The village was saved. Phallic statues were put in the park to keep the virgin happy.

Art is weird. Legends are weirder.


Source & More Info









Is there an unusual place that you think would make a good book setting?










29 comments:

  1. I love these posts!
    I think I'd be most likely to write about the cenotes or the coffins.
    (You're right, the Great Dismal Swamp is a fabulous name.)

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    1. I’d happily read stories about either of those things.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. Wow - these are some fantastic settings!

    These would all make really intriguing stories, but I think I'd love more stories set in Southern Utah - among all their amazing landscapes.

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    1. Yes! I’ve been to Utah a few times, and that state is full of great book settings.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. I really need to go see the penis park someday. Lol.

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  4. Great post!! Cliffside Coffins sounds pretty cool.

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  5. Cliffside coffins definitely sounds like something I'd like to read about.

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    1. It does seem like an unusual place to put dead people, but you have to put them somewhere, I guess.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. This world is so strange, you almost don't need fantasy books! There's a place near us called the Great Swamp - not so dismal, I guess!

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  7. I would so read about that swamp. And the fact that people have lived there for centuries, hiding- love it. Not that they had to hide, but just... it looks like an amazing place.

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    1. It sucks that they had to hide, but it’s cool that thousands of people could stay mostly hidden for centuries.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. Yes to horror stories set in Great Dismal Swamp! It's the perfect setting for Sasquatches, mutant crocodiles or rogue sharks! Yes to Cenotes with spiders or insects running wild! I've never seen those Cliffside Coffins before-that is really interesting! Remind me never to go to THAT in South Korea!!!

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  9. Now that I know that you've done so many writing workshops, I'm wondering why you're not writing some of these books. You always have such amazing ideas!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. I second Nicole's post. I'm waiting to see your book set in the Great Dismal Swamp now. ;)

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    2. I have a lot of ideas and no motivation. :)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  10. Whoa. Those coffins...all I can think is what happens when the wood rots out. eep.

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    1. I wondered about the exact same thing! I hope that by the time the coffin rots, the body is just bones. Having a bone fall on your head would be bad, but you definitely don’t want a whole rotting corpse falling on your head.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  11. Oh man, I love the kinds of watery places you shared, but they FREAK ME OUT! Which... is why I'd love to read about them. Great post!

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    1. They freak me out, too. That’s why I find them so interesting.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  12. This is such a cool feature that you do. I’ve never even heard of the Great Dismal Swamp. (Epic name!) Being from the South I’m surprised I’ve never encountered the name before. Those hanging coffins are just... bizarre.

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    1. I think most of the swamp has been filled in and built over. It’s not so “Great” anymore.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  13. I live in Virginia so have always had some interest in the Great Dismal Swamp. I don't think there's much to it now but from the few things I've read about it, it was very important in terms of slaves and the Underground Railroad.

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  14. Ooooh I need to know ALL the things about the Great Dismal Swamp! It sounds so... well, dismal, of course. I feel like the penis statues would probably just irritate the virgin more, but whatever works hah. And I actually saw some kind of documentary about the coffins once- so fascinating, but also I feel like I'd be super sad every time I saw dead loved ones hanging off a cliff? And the cenotes are very cool, I need to see one for myself too!

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  15. What great places you’ve picked! ♥️♥️ Love the Great Dismal swamp and the story about the Maroons. Great post!

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  16. And I now have an overwhelming urge to write about large penis statutes protruding from dismal swamps...

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