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An Adventure of the Senses

My brother, Larry Haavik, is a fine musician who defines music as an “adventure for the ear.” I recently attended his two lectures on the history of jazz. He talked about how from

the earliest times, people have used sticks, animal skins and other materials to make music, gradually expanding and transforming their repertoire as they sought new sounds and new adventures for the ear. Longer scales, more beats per measure, unusual instruments, different rhythms, and other variations are all explored and contribute to the adventure. The same, of course, applies to art as painters seek new ways to portray the world and people around them. We can easily see how photography made realistic interpretations boring. The artist looking for new adventures in paint moved on to impressionism, expressionism, and so on to expand the possibilities of the world around us. Taste presents another dimension of exploration and adventure. My first taste of Chinese food thrilled me. I wanted to try more and more dishes. It was an adventure indeed. Indonesian food in the Netherlands was another adventure. Ethiopian food sent me on a different taste trip that included the hands. The world abounds in taste adventures for the traveler. Anthony Bourdain was the supreme adventurer of taste. I am at heart an adventurer, but I express my love of exploration in writing. For my first novel, Shadow of the Rock, the word exploration was taken literally. My husband and I traveled all over Florida, St. Thomas, Gibraltar, and Morocco tracking down the bits and pieces of a fascinating story. This story, often mentioned in Florida history books, is about a young woman captured by Barbary pirates, married off to the vizier of Morocco, and escaped in a palace coup. Her grandson became the first senator from the state of Florida. In the book, a parallel story takes a present-day character along the route I followed in researching the novel. Learning new facts about history, living vicariously through the adventures in my novels, meeting other writers at conferences, and reading through the vast number of books that interest me in the public library all feed my own love of adventure. How do you feed yours?

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