A Writer's Journey

March 11, 2013

Exploring…

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: , ,

We had good family friends who refused to say they were lost. Instead, they would say they were exploring. We adopted it, more as a joke. But now that I’m older, I see it in a whole new light. “Lost” has a negative connotation while “exploring” has a positive one.

It seems strange that we can still get lost in this day and age of GPS, but it’s possible. Last month, my family went to visit my cousin and her family for her son’s birthday. We stayed the weekend upstate in the Finger Lakes region, in a town called Horseheads. We also bounced between Elmira and Corning. But our trouble come on Sunday, our last day up there.

We came out of Sunday Mass and wanted to go to the nearby Cracker Barrel. It had opened since our last visit and while we had an idea of where it was, we weren’t sure how to get there. So my dad let his iPhone guide us. And as we drove down this windy county road, my sister asked her iPhone for directions. It corrected us and we realized a restaurant which was about five minutes away took us nearly an hour to get to.

But in that hour, we drove through most of Chemung County in New York. It’s mostly farmland. Cows and horses were outside, grazing. Barns were littered across the pale green grass, some in great shape and others in states of disrepair. We drove past homes as we drove, some new and some older. There were ones close to the roads while others were farther away. The road we drove on wound about the mountainous area. As we drove, a snow storm rose up. White flakes hit our windshield as we followed the mechanical voice.

To some people, this was a nightmare. To me, this was great. It allows me to get ideas. I might want to set a future story in such a small town. Or use the surrounding and the wintery weather to create atmosphere. I also like to think of people who might live in those houses. This is a little exercise in characterizations.

So, writer, next time you’re not sure where you’re going but are pretty sure it’s not the way you’re heading, don’t think of yourself as “lost.” Instead, think of it as an exploration. And a writing exercise.

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