I sculpt mountains, and dig the basins of oceans, and I ever so gently set the stars in their heavenly constellations. I form worlds that exist nowhere but in my own imagination. And as enjoyable as creating worlds out of the strange, sometimes bizarre, and occasional darkness of that thing I call a brain, seeing others react to my creations is even better. The best praise a writer can hear is, "I fell in love with reading after I read your book!" There is no higher honor that can be heaped upon us. It's why we put so much effort into building our worlds, and being something of a world builder, I sometimes wonder if God might not also paint sunsets, sculpt mountains, and fling stars across galaxies and nebula for our enjoyment. It's a pleasant thought to me at least. The mechanics and rules governing creation were set forth at the moment, or so we believe, of the Big Bang, or as I call it, the Phenomenal Kablooie. For me, there is no such catharsis, no singular, infinitely dense point of EVERYTHING that suddenly explodes forth to form, well, everything. It's an arduous process of painstaking imagining and thought about details that I want to include, and I do it blind, so to speak. I was surprised to learn that many people see pictures in their mind, of memories or things conjured up by their imagination. I do not, so when I write, I have to sketch out a character or a scene or location so that I can describe it better. I can't visualize it until I sketch it out. Line by line, stroke by stroke, I coax it out of my imagination. It helps me build a more visceral world, and I envy those who can just see in their mind's eye what they want to write about. It's a time consuming process, but I do enjoy watching the world take shape on paper while I sketch and erase and sketch some more (there's far more erasing then sketching).
The opening scene of The Undying Night takes place on two great towers that stand atop the Pillars of Heaven, twin peaks at the highest point of the Sepinal mountains, but I couldn't visualize them until I drew them. This is what I was able to pull forth, kicking and screaming from my cataract ridden mind's eye.
The towers were easy enough, but the geography of the mountain was somewhat harder, and while this sketch served well enough to write the opening scene, I had something more majestic in mind for the peaks on which the towers stood. I wanted a place that was cold, desolate, and barren, and I fought with my imagination to create it. I never imagined that such a place existed in the real world, and then I found this...
While not as ominous sounding as the Towers of Pain, The Pillars of Heaven found in the opening scene to The Undying Night, could easily be built from and on top of the Towers of Pain in Chile. I don't know if God sculpts mountains for our enjoyment, but their majesty and grandeur pierce us to the very soul, and it is things like this that make me want to build worlds for you to visit. I hope mine approaches, at least a little, the endless marvels and beauty of the world in which we all are privileged to live.