“You can’t always do the extraordinary. In between you have to do the ordinary. Because if you didn’t, what would constitute the extraordinary?” Chrisotph Waltz
Most days start with no hint of the extraordinary. Not today. Today I walked out my front door and saw nothing but blue sky—every direction. Not even a wisp of white, fluffy cloud. Not a haze. Only blue. Not that I’m superstitious. It’s probably a sign of global warming. But still, I couldn’t help but feel positive and uplifted with sunshine and a blue sky. I think humans are hardwired that way. I took the expanse of extreme blueness as an omen that today was going to be a special day, an extraordinary day, if you will. And was not wrong.
Of course, there is nothing ordinary about a trip to Banff in the heart of the Rocky Mountains! Having been raised in the Maritimes, I will never forget the first time I saw the majestic mountains. They were so much more of everything than what I could have ever imagined. More beautiful. More spectacular. More majestic. More gigantic. There is nothing that will ever replace the amazement I felt at that moment, standing in total and complete awe of mother nature. I wasn’t a writer at the time. But now, I realize that moment of awe is what is needed when attempting to create extraordinary moments for my characters.
Recently I read several blog posts on making the ordinary, extraordinary. But I have to admit, that in most cases they fell short on the extraordinary side. It isn’t simply enough to notice the detail in everyday life and to deem it extraordinary because you take time to appreciate it. At least, for me, that’s not what it’s about. For me, for my characters, I want to totally knock their socks off. I want them to have a truly extraordinary experience which is unlike anything they have ever experienced or thought they would experience. Yes, there are extraordinary happenings in ordinary days and ordinary lives, but what is it that truly turns them into the extraordinary. That’s what I believe readers want. And today, was a perfect day to remind me of that fact.
Driving toward the Rocky Mountains, on the east side of Banff, I saw horses, running along the field beside the highway. Stallions and mares and colts. They looked like wild horses. Maybe they were. The scene was mesmerizing, which is another way to say I didn’t reach for my phone to capture the moment. On the way back, I saw these more sedate horses—still beautiful and remembered to snap a picture.
The mountain vistas did not disappoint. They never do. And today, I realized that I want to set a story in the Rocky Mountains. I don’t have any idea what the story will be about. But I want my character to experience the majestic mountains the way I did, way back when. I want her to experience them the way I did today. The shock value is no longer there, but the appreciation of these stunning vistas in my own back yard, is still there, in a quieter, more reverent way. I think I want to include both of these experiences. The character, whomever she may be, will return to the mountains after an extended absence and it is there she will make her peace with herself, with her world. Hmmm…Didn’t see that coming!
That’s the thing about the extraordinary. You never know where it will appear, or what it’s going to look like. It simply is, extraordinary.