By Sofa or by Sea

I knew by the title it was the right magazine, but I had to take a moment to study the cover photo. A fishing boat. Four attractive and physically fit people. And one of those metallic, pointy-nosed fishes hanging between them.

In the end, the photo selection made perfect sense, despite its being on the front of a popular literary mag. The individuals flanking the 130-pound marlin were none other than Ernest Hemingway and his pals, all enjoying an adventure together off Key West.

Writers’ adventures. They’re the focus of the latest Poets & Writers magazine. The March/April issue spells out how we can take our writing interests to a whole new place–the literal kind of place, that is. From writing residencies to intimate retreats to faraway festivals, the magazine’s contributors tout the top travel opportunities for writers.

Talk about opportunities–my husband and I are in the thick of adopting a baby from the Marshall Islands, a collection of twenty-nine serpent-shaped “atolls” located in the South Pacific. We’ll be there for six or so weeks getting to know our child and his/her birthfamily, and I’m certain the trip will offer much food for thought and fuel for writing. It will be one heck of an “adventure”… but that’s not to say just sitting on the other side of the sofa tonight couldn’t inspire some fresh perspective.

So what makes an adventure, an adventure? I believe that the experience of travel can help beef up our lists of story ideas. But, in the end, it’s an adventurous spirit that sustains a good writer.

WRITING PROMPT 1: Begin a story or poem with “I took a trip to…”

WRITING PROMPT 2: Write about one of your favorite adventures.


10 thoughts on “By Sofa or by Sea

  1. Joe Pineda says:

    I took a trip to Ensenada in high school as part of a science program for youths. I lived there with about thirty other kids from around the country for about a week. Back then I had never spent an entire week away from home, so the experience has been indellible in my mind because of its uniqueness and everything that transpired.

    In such a short period of time I fell in love, found a lot of self-confidence hidden somewhere within me, but most of all I realized that I didn’t want to be an engineer anymore. I wanted to be a writer.

    You see, whenever people discussed their interests around me, I had to say that I wrote. When others talked about their favorite rock bands and hip hop artists, I kept talking about this awesome book I was going to write one day. Sure. Everything I saw there was thrilling, such as a device that allowed you to see actual atoms, but nothing was as thrilling as calling myself a writer. I wasn’t embarrassed or scared to dream anymore.


  2. Instant Mama says:

    Yokwe! Oh, I got so excited when I read you’re adopting from the Marshalls! I’ve been there twice, once in high school when we built a school on one of the outer islands, and then a few years later we stopped for a few days on our way home from a year-long adventure as missionary teachers on Yap. I have friends who adopted from there as well. Of all those islands, the Marshallese are the kindest and most giving and accepting. I loved the little time I spent there, and won’t be surprised if I somehow end up there again. Snorkeling and/or scuba diving is a must. I know you’ll love it. If you get bored, check out the SDA school! Blessings,
    Instant Mama


    • Barbara Farland says:

      Someone who actually knows about the Marshalls! I don’t come across that every day. Please tell me more about the SDA school–I’m sure we could “work it in” during our six-week trip. 😉

      I went to your blog and am so fascinated by your story and so inspired by your faith. Six “instant” kids–wow!


      • Instant Mama says:

        Thanks for stopping by. The Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) School on the island is where we stayed. There are actually two there, one in Delap (the main one) and one on Laura which is a tiny thing all the way at the other end of that itsy-bitsy stretch of land. Nice snorkeling down there, though. We were Student Missionary teachers on the SDA school in Yap, and stopped at the other ones in Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae, and Palau to experience those islands as well. Majuro was definitely the flattest! Anyway, I was looking to see if they had a website but they don’t have a good one. I did stumble onto a blog by a Student Missionary who is there now, though, and it’s quite insightful as to life on Majuro from the perspective of a Westerner. You can check it out here if you want: Maybe you could even meet her when you go!
        It brings back so many memories for me. I hope you truly enjoy your time there. Prepare to be hot and sweaty all the time. Prepare to be welcomed and included into a culture very different from your own. I hope you’ll update us and do some writing about your time there. Ohhh, and now I’m wishing I was back in the islands…


  3. Emily Perron Sandager says:

    Barb! I’m so happy for you and Terry. I hope all goes well on your trip and with the adoption. We’ll be thinking of you!



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