I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of Two Writing Teachers for creating this supportive community.
Last summer I did a writing exercise suggested by Anne Marie Pace on the Teachers Write! site coordinated by Kate Messner. The idea was to walk 100 steps in a direction you don’t normally go, then stop and spend about ten minutes recording what you observe, see, hear, smell, etc. The next step was to spend some time looking for connections, pick one, and use it as a starting point for some writing. That day, while at Longwood Gardens, I walked past the outdoor children’s garden and fountains and started counting steps. When I stopped I was near some benches, so I sat down and let my senses take over. One of the things I recorded in addition to sights and sounds and smells were a few bits of conversation between two women. In my notebook I have these phrases:
used to be a social worker
organizes a music festival there
This morning I revisited a character sketch I started from those bits of conversation.
Laura was always on the move…literally. Since beginning a career as a social worker ten years ago, she had moved three times. Two different cities. One different state. All new beginnings. Laura always found something special in the places where she lived. Northern California had its towering redwoods and majestic mountains. Philly had history, loyal sports fans, and interesting neighborhoods. Lancaster County had its rolling farm lands and a quaintness that was hard to duplicate. The truth of the matter? Laura was afraid. Afraid of getting too involved with the families she worked with. Afraid of “settling down” as everyone told her she should. And afraid of missing out. As soon as she felt herself getting too close or too comfortable, Laura knew it was time to start looking for that next big adventure.