Writing 101: Day TWO: Description of a SETTING

Writing 101: Day TwoA Room with a View

Today’s Prompt: 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.

“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

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.

A Writer’s Reverie: The Retreat

I close my eyes to the merciless sun and the relentless summer heat. This arid, sweatless heat sucks out all my vital energy and I’m reduced to a hollow, mirthless mass of skin and bone, gasping for revival. The woes of the parched earth find an echo in the sighs of my parched heart. I long to be whisked away. Somehow.

I breathe in gallons of the fresh mountain air that set my organs chiming again and my arid heart swinging to distant refrains. Distant, blue, snowy mountains ringing a verdant valley and that little cabin in the woods. The stream gurgling nearby, that musical alarm that wakes me up each day whose cool fresh water stings my senses awake and I’m more than ready for the day. There are not many people around except for some neighbours a little further away. We greet each other with a wave from a distance, content to be nodding acquaintances. 

Small animal noises and the chirping of the birds keep me company, as I go about the very minimal chores that demand my attention in this mountain retreat. I have come here to write, true, but it is also to cool my fevered brain and to get away from the frenzied pace of a routined, hectic life. The long walks and the crisp air refresh my numbed mind, as nothing can. The sight of the distant, silent mountains fill me with a wonder — how majestic and yet how silent in their imposing humility as they allow the vagrant clouds to skim their peaks. So far removed, I muse, from the pompous chatter of small human minds, that revel in noise and bedlam, since afraid of silence. Why do we fear the deep ? Why are we so scared of our own silences that we strive to fill it with the cesspool of meaningless activity ? I stop. For now, I’m grateful, thankful for these brief moments of respite, for the refreshing coolness that percolates into my mind and loosens it up.

Even if — my sojourn to the hills happened in that same space, my mind — I wake up from my reverie, refreshed. Heat rushes to embrace me, like a long-lost, co-dependent companion! But within, it is cool.

© Lakshmi S. Menon 


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