Spirit. I'm thinking about this today because I'm doing the writeup tonight for the Nobilis game at Doyce's tomorrow. If that doesn't make sense, never mind.
I see a lot of things in the terms of their spirits. For one random thing, it summarizes the reason I'd rather live in Colorado Springs than Denver.
It isn't just the natural place itself, although that's part of it. Sure, there are mountains and trees. The weather is just so (and just so without mosquitoes). Sunshine, prairie to the east...all of these things are important. But Tesla lived here. Heinlein lived here. NORAD is here. There are military types and mystical freaks. The contentious Independent. Some good colleges. The battle of local coffeeshops with Starbucks...a million different details. None of the roads go where they're supposed to go.
It's a place here.
--I've done it with people, too. I close my eyes, and I can see them as children. Not necessarily the children they were, bu the children they have inside themselves now. (The child I have inside myself now is happier, for example, than the one I had then.)
Well, it sounds fruity, but there you go. Some of my best writing--the stuff that non-writers remember--comes from translating what I perceive as spirit into something other people can read. The novel comes from that...the image of the prairie as an ocean, and wondering if my parents, out working the fields while I'd been left with my little brother in the back of a pickup truck with a stack of books, were going to just vanish one day and never come back.
Where would they go? What lies underneath the illusion of all the flatness?
Something fun that I've done in the past is imagine what types of monsters go with what places--now there's a good way to find the darkest parts of the spirit of a place.