Seeing Like A Writer

Taken from the highest point at Yakote Yama

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.

    A second view from the top of Yakote Yama (there was an easy-ish slope down from the top!)

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.

Aimee, in full ski gear, at 2300 Meters high - that is more than a mile and a half above sea level.

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.

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