Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Make-it Monday: On Inspiration

The restaurant, the rock and the lighthouse all fit into the doubloon!

The Wife and I just returned from a mini-honeymoon weekend. We drove down to the remote wilds of the Oregon coast in search of some alone time after two weeks of family and wedding madness. We rented out the Japanese Forest House on R-Evolution Gardens' farm near Nehalem. The house and farm are completely off the grid, drawing their power from solar panels on the premises. The forest house was built by one of the farmers from a single cedar tree. It is absolutely gorgeous and secluded. In a nutshell, the perfect way to disconnect after a hectic event like a wedding.
Japanese Forest House
Photo from Air B&B

I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant about the accommodations when we first arrived. Perhaps I was still wound up from a long drive and two weeks of social stress, but my initial impression was that the farm felt like a mix of the commune from the first episode of Portlandia, and the bed and breakfast from So I Married an Axe Murderer. After settling in, meeting the owners at the local farmer's market, and having some dinner, however, I finally began to relax and enjoy my surroundings.

I have always drawn a great deal of inspiration from the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I think part of the reason fantasy literature resonated so well with me as a child was because much of it involved journeys through the wilderness, which I too experienced during my family's weekend getaways to the mountains or small towns around Washington. Even now, whenever I find myself wandering the wilds, my mind begins to to spin visions of fantastic beasts in the shaded woodlands, to reimagine small towns as medieval outposts, and even to hear the sound of footsteps on the forest floor as the heartbeat of the woods itself.

This weekend was no exception. I began planning for the resumption of my regular D&D game, jotting down adventure hooks and plot ideas in my trusty quad-ruled notebook. The Wife and I also discussed the fantasy ecology of rocky coastlines similar to those found along the Pacific edge of Oregon and Washington. We decided such environs would be the perfect haunts for a coast-dwelling griffon variant. The cliff-dwelling beasts could find safe haven in the rocky sea stacks, and food among the sea lion colonies, or perhaps they might hunt giant crabs along the beaches. Conversations like this are one of the many reasons I married the woman!

I also did a lot of reading. I finished the first book of Asimov's Foundation trilogy. I'm trying to decide whether to review that book on its own merit, or to wait until I finish the compendium. I also got through most of Culinary Reactions, a great little treatise on the chemistry of cooking. Finally, I perused a copy of New Treehouses of the World, which was lying around the Japanese Forest House. If you ever want inspiration, you'll find a bunch of fascinating stuff in that book!

Click here to see a photo for comparison
Between the reading, game planning and discussions on nerdly matters, the Wife and I drove around the small towns dotting that part of the coast. We visted Cannon Beach where the landmarks found on Chester Copperpot's map and doubloon point the way to One-eyed Willie's treasure. We also visited the Tillamook cheese factory, which is similar in a lot of ways to an Ikea... of cheese. Finally, I did a bit of sketching, including this doodle of the main room in the Japanese Forest House.

Tomorrow, we both head back to work and the stress of the "real" world. Fortunately, this weekend was just what I needed to face my responsibilities refreshed and ready to go, rather than in a frazzled post-wedding haze.


  1. The perfect peaceful ending to a couple weeks of wedding-related hijinks! I also found myself inspired and was able to approach work today with renewed mental clarity. We should go away and have quiet time more often :)

  2. Replies
    1. It was really nice... I should mention one caveat that this trip depended on being comfortable using a non-flush composting outhouse and not taking a shower for four days.

  3. I know exactly what you mean about the PNW. You expect to catch glimpses of elves leaping from tree to tree or gnomes capering about in the underbrush.

    It's super cool that the pegacorn will have such discussions with you.

    1. Don't forget those filthy Ewoks! Also, heh! pegacorn! well remembered!


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