Andrés N. Ordorica Recommends...

Often, I find myself too deep in the minds of my characters. I grow obsessive, beginning to imagine myself as them. I think of what they would be doing at a certain point in the year. If faced with the same gray Scottish weather that is my November to January, how would they move? While listening to the sonorous voice of an alt-rock musician, I imagine how they might sway in moments alone in their kitchen. To break free from this spiraling, I turn to nature.

My nearest public park in Edinburgh is The Meadows, a stone’s throw from my city center flat. It is a community-owned park by law, and very much feels an extension of my living quarters. No matter the time of year, I can be found on my favorite bench reading a book, listening to music, or sipping on a coffee. I like to just sit among the vast fields and be.

I watch as seagulls sail the currents of a blustery day, or sometimes I finger the strong stalks of grass under the summer sun. In autumn I take in the changing leaves with their reds and ambers, their ochre crunch a thrill.

My greatest advice to other writers is to go outside and touch grass. We live too much in the digital, becoming the blinking cursor of a Word document and infiltrating a world untethered from the land. Although our aim is to commune intimately with our characters, our purpose as humans should always be to seek from nature what words cannot produce: a rooting, a communion, a freedom.

Andrés N. Ordorica, author of How We Named the Stars (Tin House, 2024)  

Photo credit: Daniel McGowan