When I started my ‘Guide to Writing Descriptive Settings’ class in late May, I was certain that I wouldn’t tackle writing about Big Sand Lake, I was positive it was too big to capture into words.
I didn’t think I could describe how thrilling it is to cut like a diamond through glass on one ski behind a speeding boat, or the beauty of the sunsets on a leisurely pontoon ride. I had no idea how to explain the way laughter echoes across the water, or the summers of swimmer’s itch, familiar and quirky ‘haunts’, or the memorable bike rides along the Heartland Trail.
Through the course of the 6 weeks of class, I decided it would be fitting for the final assignment. The objective of the assignment was to create a mental map and use sensory descriptions to bring a few places along the way to life through words.
The challenge was that I wanted to capture the essence of a million places and as many memories. I had no idea how I was going to write about something so big and so personal.
With 48 hours left until the classroom closed, I went for a run. I still hadn’t written a word.
As often happens, I had a breakthrough while running along the towpath. In the heat and solitude of the morning, memories filled my heart, the canal blurred behind tears, and scenes from life on Big Sand rolled through my mind.
In the end, this wasn’t just an assignment; it became an emotive connection of my present, past, and future, and an experience in what it means to ‘write from the heart’.