Writing 101, Day Two: A Room with a View (Or Just a View)
We’re all drawn to certain places. If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.
A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.
– Joan Didion
If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?
The spaces we inhabit have an influence on our mood, our behavior, and even the way we move and interact with others. Enter a busy train station, and you immediately quicken your step. Step into a majestic cathedral, and you lower your voice and automatically look up. Return to your own room, and your body relaxes.
Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?
Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.
This challenge is hard because I can’t choose where to go, although I can go anywhere in the world my initial thoughts have gone to places of simplicity. So much as I love world travel and been to many countries and have lists of places I long to visit, I am going to take you somewhere local. A place from my past, my childhood. A place out of bounds during school time, but an area local kids knew well.
The pond on the school field. The school field was private land as they all are, but the railway used to run alongside and eventually some houses were built on the border. There was a small, white farm house complete with pecking geese and a cantankerous old farmer, but if you made it up the alley by the side of the school and across the tracks (avoiding farm animals) to the gate, the field was one easy climb away.
We weren’t the only group who used it, many of the locals walked there dogs there (and this was years before the poop/scoop laws had been created, let alone enforced)! The school field was vast – it consisted of a rugby pitch, an area close to the pond used for field events, the embankment and around the corner a full size running track, with an old oak tree in the middle and then an extra rectangle of field we didn’t use because there was another school and they used that part of the field. Around the edge there was a fence separating us from the farmer’s land and lots of shrubbery, bushes and trees. It was very green and very flat.
Behind the field event area were a group of Weeping Willows and a few Silver Birch trees which hid the pond from view. That’s what made it such a great place as a child, it was den like and saved you from having to drag sheets and blankets out with us to play. You could pull the branches aside like curtains and duck beneath them.
The pond was very small, just a few metres across and wide. It wasn’t particularly deep, the water was always murky but you could see in it. Frogs lived there. We never went in the water – we were girls, it didn’t look clean and we believed in the lessons taught to us about water safety. We didn’t include danger in our games. There were some logs, two small logs, wide enough for children to sit on, pushed up to the edge of the pond. We used to sit on these and chat and play. I don’t recall the games, it was mainly a secret den away from the boys. Who used it too, but not when we were there.
I liked the privacy nature provided, the overhanging branches, camouflaging our existence. The tranquillity felt here, the feeling of safety of the real world being miles away. Our own haven.
It also felt good because we knew we were in an out of bounds area of the playing field. There were no teachers or parents to tell us otherwise.
I have no idea why this is the place that came to mind first, but it was. I hope I have given you enough visual description for you to imagine the peace of this place. I am not sure if I want to go back there for the physical space or because it offers me memories of a simpler time.