Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams was a thoroughly enjoyable book. Usually, I am not someone who voluntarily picks up non-fiction, but I was drawn to this book as it covers a location that I am most keen in visiting eventually: Machu Picchu.
When I first heard about the book, it was billed as one man’s journey through the ruins of Peru and, eventually, Machu Picchu. What you get, however, is a blending of three stories. You have the history of the conquistadors in Peru and the resulting insurgent war, then you have Hiram Bingham trying to find the lost city of the Incas in 1911 and then you have Mark Adams following in the footsteps of that explorer, retracing the roads and paths that Bingham originally traveled.
Adams does a magnificent job weaving the three story lines together so you are not lost at any step and each informs and enriches the other. There are modern travel tips nestled in next to references from ancient religious tracts written by visiting priests–and neither seem out of place. The only hiccup in reading comes from the liberal use of Qechua names, which is only appropriate, given the context of the story. But I am someone who can’t move on until I’ve figure out how each one could be pronounced, and I would then promptly forget be the time I saw the name next. Thus, it took a bit longer to get through than my usual, but it was still highly enjoyable.
I would definitely recommend giving this book a once through if you enjoy true life adventure texts or are at all interested in the Inca history of Peru. It is well researched and splendidly presented for an overall informative and delightful read.
NaNoWriMo has just begun and here are some helpful hints for those of you attempting this Quixotian enterprise:
1) Write everyday. Don’t take a break for your birthday, or hospital visits, or just because your hamster died. If you have a fever of 104, write! Look how well Tropic of Cancer sells and he wrote that entire thing when he was blasted out of his mind…
2) Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are writing the next best seller. You are not. If you are lucky, you’re going to produce something your mother will tell you is quite nice. Have realistic expectations for output and you will be much happier come December 1st.
3) Don’t write without a plan. Sit down first and figure out who your characters are, what they mean to each other, and kind of where you want the story to go. Otherwise you’re going to get to page 200 and realize that nothing has actually happened yet.
and 4) For the love of all that is holy, please, please, PLEASE go back and edit before you try and share your collection of sleep-deprived words with anyone else. A month to bang out around 80,000 words is enough time to get them out, but not enough time to make them good. If you think on December 1st that you’re going to be sending out your work to agents and publishers, be prepared for a lot of rejection, because that’s all you’re going to get. And if you self-publish? It is not going to sell. Take the next year to edit, then maybe it will be something that can stand up to actual scrutiny.
With that being said, start your engines, pick up your pencils, start the coffee, whatever it is that’ll get you going, and have fun. Don’t get hung up on the word count, the timeline, or anything. Just write because the words won’t stay down and they just have to come out.
The site is now up and running, fully functional, la-de-da! As soon as the rest of my life is in order, I shall attempt to actually start a serious blog about the creative in the everyday life…be it writing, design, or anything in-between!
I’m working on getting this site up and running, but in the mean time, patience is appreciated!
Shortly, I shall have examples of my writing and design work up for perusal including, but not limited to: fiction, non-fiction, book design, interior design, and clothing design.
See you soon!