There is still time to explore the Amazon and
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Books vs Videos Traveling up the Amazon River
The wonderful thing about your imagination is that you bring all of your experiences to a scene in a story or novel. Sometimes a written description can spark a different and more focused experience as compared to a video. A video can be very well done and can certainly tell a story. But we are limited to what our eyes can take in and the score to elicit the proper emotion or reaction. With a video we are truly witnesses. With literature we are more participants. I hope I did that in my description of Emilio’s trip down the Rio Oscuro in the Amazon in my latest novel, ‘The Patròn’s Wife”. Many moons ago, I was stationed in the Florida Keys and at Homestead Air Base, that was very near the Everglades. Both places were hot, sticky and buggy. In the summer you could just about set you watch to the time of the daily thunder storm. Those were the experiences I drew from for the opening description.
Compare this Video to Emilio’s Trip
down the Amazon in The Patron’s Wife
“The dull pulse of the boat motor echoed back from the dense wall of tangled greenery that crowded its way to the edge of the river bank. The chirps and clicks from a thousand insects set an unearthly cadence that was palpable. Mist swirled overhead, opening now and again to let the sun’s rays play off the living pearls of dew that rolled down from leaf to quivering leaf, back into the brown waters of the Rio Oscuro”
“My clothing was always damp with sweat. The heat and humidity made the trip unbearable. Even the breeze coming off the water was warm and fetid. The chatter of monkeys was tiresome; the biting insects were bothersome and painful. The occasional shadowy animal, drawn undoubtedly by the sound of the motor, would stalk us, making its way through the undergrowth that grew along the riverbank. The relentless heat, discomfort, and unpredictability reached out like a smothering and heavy hand from the jungle and kept its dank grip on me and the boat.”
Another scene has to do with the protagonist Emilio being driven up from the Rio Oscuro in the Amazon to El Paradiso, the name of the plantation where the greater part of the story takes place.
“The road was rutted and bumpy. Branches and fronds reached out and clawed and scratched at all sides of the Land Rover as if trying to pull us into the undergrowth. There was no view to speak of, only a twinkling tunnel made through the tangle of low brush, large green leaves and overhead, vines and flowering creepers and still higher, the canopies of the great trees.
“We traveled inland for maybe twelve kilometers. I heard birds and the chatter of monkeys but I saw no animals. Leòn came to a jarring stop. A jaguar appeared out of the brush and stopped on the road. Its golden eyes burned into mine. Leòn looked away from the animal; he even held his hand up to shield his face and gave the big cat a wide berth. I expected him to say something, but he did not. He did not even look at me. We drove off in silence.”
All of those scenes have to do with the Amazon jungle. By reading the words you become part of the story. You become an active participant by reliving your own set of experiences and memories and those of the character. A video can never do that.