I hesitate at the end of the driveway. My purple lined Asics weigh down into the cement, which has been dry for nine years. “No excuses,” says the tiny voice that nags in my head. I fumble with my phone as I loop the ear buds over my shoulders. Flipping through pages of apps in search of Pandora, I hear the long low who of the nocturnal owl that is settling in for the morning. I imagine the springtime chatter of the calling birds as they each flirt and hunt in their symphonic morning melodies keeps him awake. It’s only fair as he has done the same to me. I smile in the direction of the nearby woods and then wonder why the neighbors roses refuse to bloom. They are thin and leggy crowded around a young maple tree. Two robins hop around them hunting the dewy grass and I recognize that I have forgotten about the ear buds entirely. I turn my wrist to check the time and realize that I had not meant to wear the watch this morning. Will it loosely bump and bruise my wrist? Touching my hips, I know I have no pockets and will have to turn around if I want to take it off. The cool morning air on my legs is already a contrast to the brightening sun warming my shoulders. I refuse to give in. This chance will not come again today. I shake my legs sending the imaginary concrete to scatter like the water on a wet dog. Deep breath in as I will the movement that takes me off the driveway toward the cresting sun into the direction of my morning run.
Write for two minutes to describe a very specific place.
- Everything you SEE – Pay attention to big things and tiny things. Search for concrete details.
- Everything you HEAR – Be specific. Don’t just say “a scraping sound.” Say a “high-pitched, raspity-raspity-screeeeeaking noise.” You can make up words if you want.If you aren’t in the place, try to find a video. Or guess what you might hear.
- Everything you SMELL – Especially pay attention to the smells that surprise you. If you’re not in the place, pictures can help you smell. Look carefully…what would that dumpster smell like?
- Everything you FEEL – Weather, wind, things that land on you or brush against you. Again – pictures help you imagine if you’re not there, and if it’s not a real place, try imagining images and then assigning sensations from a similar place that might be real (desert, tundra, etc.)
Now, go back and rewrite that descriptive paragraph. Include your best tiny, surprising details, and work on senses other than sight. Better? More vivid? This is a fun activity to do with kids, too. Have them write about the playground or gym or cafeteria; then go there and hunt for sensory details!