Spectacular Settings

Victoria Street, London, April 2012
Victoria Street, London, April 2012

The above is one of my favorite photos. It’s pretty mundane, I suppose, but it’s the wallpaper on my iPhone. I love London, and I was just walking down this street one day with the idea of going on the Eye, and couldn’t stop myself snapping this shot.

Today I’m participating in the WEP Challenge of “Spectacular Settings”. I think London is a spectacular setting. It’s where The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller is largely set (though, being in the 60s, there is no London Eye).

I love this photo because you get the London cabs and the red buses. You get the red phone box, too. It reminds me that what is exotic to a traveler is everyday for a slew of people. When I’m in London, for some people I’m the most interesting thing that happens in their day. (And that’s not me being self-important; I’ve actually been told that several times.) That’s weird to think about, considering I find all of London so very interesting. And of course, to myself I’m mundane.

This all relates to Peter in that he can’t live a regular life, much as he might want to. He’s a spy. What’s normal for him doesn’t translate to the every day. So when he falls in love with a cab driver, trying to straddle those worlds . . . It’s kind of a mess.

Anyway, this picture inspires me because it forces me to see things differently. It gives me perspective. It makes me think from a different direction, which is an exercise I enjoy. “Stranger in a strange land?” Well, it’s not so strange to the people who live there! Stranger in . . . a land. Though the more often I go, the less of a stranger I become.

19 thoughts on “Spectacular Settings”

  1. Pepper

    I don’t find your photo mundane, and anyone with the background you have isn’t either. However, I know we all see ourselves as rather ordinary. London is an exciting place if for no other reason than its history, but I would love to visit because so many of the amazing characters in literature also reside in London. Well, in our minds, of course, but it’s those settings that make us want to travel the same roads.

    The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller sounds intriguing. I’m sure trying to fit normalcy into the life of a spy would come with more than a few obstacles. I wish you’d shared an excerpt here, but your choice for Spectacular Settings is just that – spectacular.

    Thinking from a different direction is a handy tool for any writer, and I’ve no doubt that traveling to the exciting places you use in your stories makes all the difference in the world for truly capturing amazing scenes!

    Thank you for participating in the WEP Spectacular Settings Challenge. I look forward to learning more about Peter Stoller. Please join us in October for our Halloween challenge.

  2. Hi,
    I can so identify with what you wrote about the picture you took of London. I personally believe that anyone who has never lived outside of their own country has missed something.
    I have been to London and yes, your picture awoke in me some of the precious memories that I have of it when I visited.
    I am an American living on the European Continent. Right now, I am living in Germany and I see beauty in things that most Germans can’t see concerning their own country and here I am considered exotic and often people refer to me as the best thing that came out of the United States. I smile because it’s funny to me.

    Your own book sounds interesting. A spy who falls in love with a taxi driver. There are so many scenes that you can choose to make it a memorable book that is witty and humorous.

    All the best.
    Pat Garcia

  3. Love the picture of London as it depicts modern day London, no Big Ben, Houses of Parliament but in the distance a modern icon, the London Eye and contained within the picture the modern office blocks set off by the iconic black cabs, red London buses, and the ubiquitous red telephone boxes. A great setting.

  4. Pepper, I think the photo, and the insights you draw from it, are inspired. Indeed, as a stranger yourself in a strange (to you) land, you are likely to be the strangest thing experienced by the natives all day. I think this is one of the fundamental reasons why people of all cultures seem to take hospitality so seriously. Bob? He’s always lurking about the hedges, borrowing my tools, and giving my wife the leery eyeball. But you, Hrodbhert of the Saucy Accent and Foreign Ways, yes, please come in and dine with us, tell us all about yourself and the strange ways of your people, oh how exciting!

  5. It’s not what’s in the picture that makes it great, it’s what memories it evokes.

    And I love London. I’d go there every year if I had the chance and could afford it.

  6. I’ve never seen a London street this quiet! That’s totally impressive. What street is it?

    It does pique my interest. Love that hint of the red bus about to arrive in front of the camera.

    1. It’s Victoria Street, and it was early afternoon as I recall. I was staying in Eccleston Square and walked from there to the Eye. I remember being surprised at how quiet it was, too! But it was early April and nearly Easter, so I think a lot of people were on holiday.

  7. I’ve had the privilege of visiting London, many years ago, and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the place. I like that your picture portrays a less crowded perspective…
    London IS a spectacular setting. Without a doubt…

    A spy who falls for a cab driver? Sounds like my kind of story. I love that countdown to publication widget.
    Nice to connect via the WEPFF Challenge.

  8. Hello there! Lovely that you posted. I commented right away but my comment disappeared and I hoped it would return but no. The web is funny that way.

    I love London too. It’s pretty much got everything but good weather. It’s buildings are mind boggling to an Australian where most buildings are relatively young, and I love the way the Thames weaves out to sea. I love your shot and I can see why it’s important to you. It really has got the London Look, hasn’t it? I love being on the Eye (we call ours the Wheel). What stupendous sights you can see from up there!

    I love the sound of The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller. Spy stories are always a favourite of mine. I used to mainly read them once but haven’t read a good spy novel for some time now! I hope I catch it when it comes out!

    Manda Pepper thanks for joining us for this WEP challenge. I hope you enjoyed the experience and jump on board for Halloween!

    Denise 🙂

    1. Thank you for visiting! It’s funny you mention the weather, because every time I go to London the weather is remarkably good. In fact, there are usually news stories about how good it is. And then it rains the day I leave. My daughter says London is just always happy to see me, and sad when I go. I like to think so!

      I do hope you’ll read Peter when it comes out. I’m ridiculously proud of it.

  9. I’ve never been to London, but it’s on my list. Interesting that a simple photo for maybe a stranger holds so much for the one with the memories. I often think that way when I take my beach photos. Actually they all look alike, but to me they are full of stories.

  10. I’ve never been to London, so I love seeing photos of places in the city, and when a person loves that city, that feeling comes through for those reading their words. Glad you joined the group this month!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.