**SPOILERS BELOW. If you have not read the story and want to be (hopefully) surprised, come back to this when you’re done.**
This story is a prime example that ideas are lurking everywhere. Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken a different approach to my reading (outside of my Ray Bradbury-assigned regimen). Where I used to pick books based on pre-conceived ideas such as, “Oh, I really ought to read this. It’s supposed to be good,” I’ve shifted more to a, “What strikes my fancy this very moment?” So I recently perused my personal library and picked out Paul Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar which had been sitting unread for God know’s how long.
It’s a fascinating travelogue written in the early 1970s recounting Paul’s travels across the European and Asian continents by train. About two-thirds of the way through, I came across a brief recollection by one of the train passengers that piqued my interest. An immense cyclone hit Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and southern India in 1964 that destroyed an entire town (Dhanushkodi) along with a hundred people in a passenger train headed that way. It struck me as just being one of those unfortunate natural events that make you ask, “Why?”
I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone unusual on that train, why they would be there, and what the experience would be like. This was challenging, but I loved the idea.
Also, if you have room on your TBR pile, pick up the Theroux book. It’s a fascinating glimpse at that part of the world in the ‘olden days,’ filled with wonderful imagery and interactions.
Here’s the general scratch file:
- Hello, Nice to Destroy You scratch file
And the daily journal entries:
- Saturday, June 30th
- Sunday, July 1st
- Monday, July 2nd
- Tuesday, July 3rd
- Wednesday, July 4th
- Thursday, July 5th
- Friday, July 6th