We should write what we know. Right? Our best writing--our most authentic voice--is about the things we've experienced and learned for ourselves. So. Here's a list of some stuff I know at least something, if not everything, about:
The 100 years war
expressive/receptive speech delay
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Arab-Israeli Conflict
Why modern art really is good stuff
how to set up a tent
carbon monoxide poisoning
food poisoning from ranch dressing
Places: Idaho, Utah, Montana. San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, Charlotte, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.
all inclusive resort vacations vs. cruise vacations
government and politics (two different things)
Pre-Raphaelite painters and Victorian England
See--writing that down, I don't feel like it's a very interesting list. Of course, there are more things I could list. All of us could list for pages and pages if we sat down to think about our own life experience. What I want to figure out is how some of the pieces of that puzzle could fit together, and which of them would help me to create a good story.
All of this also makes me wonder how people like JR Tolkien and JK Rowling create these entire magical worlds, of which they have no first-hand experience. The introduce characters and settings that are so vibrant and alive that they become, in a way, real. I admire that a great deal. I'd love to exercise my imagination enough to do something like it.