Seeing Like A Writer
This week we spent three days at Shiga Kogen in Nagano skiing. The weather could not have been more perfect – sunny and about -2 Celsius every day. My kids and my husband are great skiers and I’m still mediocre at best, so while they were off at lessons or swishing down black diamond trails, I got to spend some time alone on lifts and on the lower slopes.
And this is how I know I’m a writer: all I could think of as I surveyed the stunning scenes is how I would or could describe them in words. Here’s a few sentences I composed while sitting two meters above the snow or skiing down or simply watching other people:
- The trees, heavy with new snow, bow to the mountain
- The green fir trees stand as a white-dressed army surrounding the serenity of the slope.
- The cloud hovers gently over the surrounding mountains
- The facing mountains huddle together, radiating joy at the prospect of the impending snowfall.
- Sydney’s curls escaped impatiently from the edges of her ski helmet, indignant at the prospect of containment.
- As Bailey came to a full stop, he pushed his skis together in a quick parallel motion, gleefully swishing snow all over his father.
- The snow swirled around in the air, glinting and winking the promise of fresh powder on the slopes.
These are just a few that I can remember or have written down.
Because I am a writer, I compose as I view any vista. I compose in my head when I see something beautiful. I hear dialogue and make a mental note of the word order or intonation so I can apply it to a story later. If a group of friends is sitting together at dinner, I mentally remove myself from the tableau and try to see it from the outside and wonder how I’d write the scene.
Sometimes I say my sentences out loud and friends or family members look at me askance. I know they are seeing the same things that I am, but somehow when I try to put words to the experience others might find it confusing. But this is how I make meaning out of my world: I write it.