Writing Challenge: Textuality #1
Writing Challenge: Textuality #3

Writing Challenge: Textuality #2

It's grey and dark here today—that temperature of light that makes you turn lights on, even during the day. Sleet, snow, rain, hail, and wind. Driving the carpool this morning in this weather, I found myself daydreaming about our February trip to California. It wasn't hot weather then, but it was definitely warmer than the end of winter in Utah. The air there already smelled like spring.

 

A fragment of Elizabeth Bishop's poem "Questions of Travel" came to mind: "and then a sudden golden silence in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes." Right there, in the car at the stoplight by the McDonald's where eight or ten school buses visit every morning, I decided to change today's writing challenge. First, a recap of the rules:

 

The writing exercise rules:

 

1.Write for at least ten minutes.

2.Let the topic be a starting point and see where it takes you—if you veer off in an entirely different direction, that's fabulous!

3.Keep writing. Don't let your fingers stop. If you run out of ideas, simply transcribe the thoughts in your head.

4.NO EDITING! Don't backspace or cross out or stop to look up how to spell a word. You can do that after your writing time is up.

5.If you want to publish what you wrote—on your blog, or on the Textuality website, you can edit. But only AFTER the writing, not during!

 

Today's writing prompt

Write a vacation memory. It can be from a trip you took last week or one you took seventeen years ago; the time of the experience doesn't matter. Rather than writing a list of what you did on the trip, try to focus on exploring one small moment, some small experience (it can be good or bad) that has stuck in your memory. Write with the goal of getting your reader to feel what you felt.

 

Here's mine:

 

As if some great wave had picked us all up and then randomly spread us out on the beach, we are scattered like seashells ourselves as we look for seashells. Kendell is near the pier, with its glimmering shadows and the teal underbelly of waves wrapped around the poles, ostensibly watching the pelicans, which stay always one step ahead of you, but only one, and seem to be tripled: their shadow, their reflection in the thin sheet of water they stand in, and their very bodies—a heavy machinework that seems too bulky for flight.

 

Really he is talking on his cell phone.

 

Jacob is racing the waves, trying not to get wet but not caring if he does. Nathan, halfway between his older brother and his dad, probes the sand with his toes. That blonde hair seems to make him the epitome of a California surfer but really, he's probably shivering, even with his sweatshirt. Haley, far down the sand, flips to a different song on her MP3, caught in her individual beach experience, blissed out from being at her favorite place in the world but still annoyed and prickly. Kaleb, who was toppled by a wave when we came to the beach three days ago, has been my shadow, glued to my side, but while I have been looking for everyone else he's gotten braver, wandered ahead of me, and is now almost caught up with Haley.

 

So I run.


My feet are bare. I'm wearing a swimsuit and a sweatshirt and goosebumps; the wind catches my hair up into Medusa swirls and maybe the light—which is so beautiful, glinting off the waves, bronzing the sand, tripling everything—catches it, too. I run for three minutes, and then for five, past Kaleb, past Haley. Not breathless, my heart barely seeming to pound even though I am sprinting. I'm running as hard and as fast as I can, not for the exercise or the conditioning but just for the sheer joy of running, of freedom, of being alive right at this very second. It is painless, effortless, joyful running, the way I run when I am dreaming, the way I wish running could always be—movement as a translation of joy. I sprint down the sand, everything (children and husband and obligations and sorrow and aches, those awkwardly beautiful pelicans) behind me, everything in front of me (time, distance, water, wind).

Comments

wendy

I'm in love with that memory. If I can make time I will do this exercise today, but it'll likely be on my private blog. I just wanted to tell you how much I loved reading yours.

Kim

Oh, Amy, that is so beautiful. Wow, you sure can write!

Kim

Amy, I posted a response to the challenge on my blog, but I can't see any links to this post or the first challenge. Shouldn't I be able to see who linked?

Melissa

Posted my response to my blog. Loved this prompt and the memory it helped me capture.

Lucy

You are a beautiful writer, Amy. I can't believe you can create that without any edits. Impressive.

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