Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Voluntary Hermit

"I'm leaving"

Fed up with everyone, she decides she's leaving them all to become a hermit. Her hermitage becomes a quest as she seeks to find her place in an epic (and heavily literary) quest:

She first turns to the woods - imagine New Hampshire in the cool fall. It's amazing for awhile (think My Side of the Mountain, Redwall, Thoreau), but she decides it's not quite for her ("I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one").

Walking to the beach (at night, Dover Beach), but aside from the great tan she gets, the peace of mind with the waves, she needs a little more excitement.

She adventures off on a sailboat, sailing south into the beautiful weather. Consider influences and reflections on sailing from Moby Dick, The Perfect Storm, and perhaps something more cheery. But when's all said and done, the boating life's not for her (too confining).

She docks in a city, teeming with sights, sounds, and (most importantly) amazing food. What better place to be a hermit - hiding in plain sight? The sights, smells, and passion of the city are invigorating, but eventually tiresome. As the city's intensity fades, picture Fahrenheit 451's phoenix city.

Walking away, the road becomes a lonely place, but one where your motion lets you ponder. Consider influences from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and some meditations from The Road. With any road though, you need a destination, and she'd rather be a hermit than a nomad.

She tries a different mode of transportation: she hops aboard a riverboat. She consider the river as Twain did, but also the River people in the Golden Compass series. It doesn't provide the solace she's looking for though, though she likes the fresh water the river doesn't provide the calm she seeks.

She comes home to her lake house in mountains. With the mix of of forest and calm water, and the dock as a place to ponder (and tan), she finds her inner peace.

Coming full circle, with an appreciation for place and what she has - independence, reliance, etc. - my character finds that she can't go off to chase solitude but must find it within.

"I'm home"

What suggestions do you have? Literary allusions? Questions?

(Note: my Seniors are embarking on an epic project this year: publishing their own children's book. The plots are fantastic, the ideas are bold, and I'm going to keep up with my own. Check out #pshscompass for links to their updates, reflections, etc. Thank you!)


  1. Hi Ms Kennet, one thing that I couldn't figure out while reading this, is she really going to these places, or is she just "visiting" them through reading the books that you mentioned? And do you plan to give the main character a name, or will she just remain defined by where she is and what she is looking for?

  2. I like your plan to have the hermit return home and realize it is what she has been searching for the whole time. I think this will send a great message to the children. In the story, are you planning on referencing the other novels you mentioned, or are you going to make allusions to them without a direct reference?

  3. Sara - I haven't figured that out. I like traveling, so part of me says 'yes! go!' but then again you can travel so many places (and times) that you'd never be actually able to. I may leave it ambiguous - Mr. Walker said children's books should'nt be ambiguous though...

    Adam - I think there's a wanderlust in all of us (in one way or another), but at the same time home holds much more than people realize. I don't know if I'll do direct references, I may just weave them in as inside jokes to those who have read the books.