Saturday, December 1, 2012

Location, Location, Location

A few years ago I found myself stranded in an airport with several hours to wait for my flight. Since I was about to begin a vacation journey, and because I always journal about my day-to-day events while on a trip, to pass the time I decided to quietly sit in an out of the way location and write about what I saw. My intention was just to note what the area actually looked like through my senses. Also included was what I heardfrom the drone of people talking to the hum of the air system and the constant irritation of opening and closing doorways. My notes jotted down the chilly, slightly acrid air and the cold coffee followed by warm soda that I consumed. Because I’m a people watcher, other travelers made their anonymous way into my musings. The time passed quickly, my fellow traveler arrived, and we passed through the now arduous process of boarding a plane.

Recently I found that journal and reread my airport location meanderings and found the sense of place surprised me. My memory would never have been as acute as my notes. I’ve been in many airports and thought I could easily write a location from memory, but this writing went far beyond memory's limitations. This discovery led me to begin a project to ‘collect’ location notes, especially of those places where I frequently find myself. It has become an interesting new journey, and I’ve penned some places that I thought I knew very well, and some places I visit only infrequently. 

Will all these locations come in handy at some point? Some maybe, but most probably not; however, they have given me new insight into what my mind tends to find unworthy of placing in my memory, but points readers might feel give a greater sense of setting reality.

Try it yourself. What can you remember about your beauty parlor, the grocery store, or even the parking lot? Go sit or stand in these locations for five or ten minutes and write through your senses, and then compare to your notes to your memory.


Protecting Her Own
from Champagne Books


Big Mike said...

I've done the same thing, only waiting in the stores and malls for my wife. Some interesting characters and scenes have been derived from watching unknown people, listening to their whispers, analyzing their faces. The practice provides a panoramic window to the human condition.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

That's very important advice. When I remember, my thoughts are filtered through the gauze of time. One would have to be hypnotized to get what you jotted down so thoroughly.