Assignment: Think about the details from one event in your life. Think about the specifics of this important, memorable place from your own lifetime. Write and describe the place and time in a way that helps the reader feel as if they are there with you. Let your memory drift back in time and find the details that will make the place feel true. Be concrete and specific. Strive to use active language. Recount an event in a place, an experience. We all have them, we live new events and experiences every day. And each and every one is important.
Describe the place connected to this event. Use all the senses—what did it look, smell, and sound like? Could you taste or touch it?
Describe the people who were there, and their relationship to you. Why were they there? What were they doing?
Why were you there? What were you doing?
Apply a cultural perspective. Why was the place important? What were the values of the people or of the place itself? How did this affect your own values? How did it make you feel?
Your piece can include action, but you don’t have to have anything actually happen. This essay is all about description.
Length: Minimum 600 words.Read the following examples to help:“The night express [train] shot, red as a rocket, from out the eastward marshlands and wound along the river shore under the long lines of shivering poplars that sentineled the meadows, the escaping steam hanging in grey masses against the pale sky and blotting out the Milky Way. In a moment, the red glare from the headlight streamed up the snow-covered track before the siding and glittered on the wet, black rails.” –Willa Cather. “The Sculptor’s Funeral.” (short story)“At almost every point, some filthy detail obtrudes itself. … It was not easy for me to think of my school days without seeming to breathe in a whiff of something cold and evil-smelling—a sort of compound of sweaty stockings, dirty towels, smells blowing along corridors, forks with old food between the prongs, neck-of-mutton stew, and the banging doors of lavatories.” –George Orwell, “Such, Such Were the Joys.” (essay)Take a look at the above two paragraphs, by two famous authors. Each paragraph describes a place. Cather’s place follows a train crossing an open countryside, while Orwell shares memories from his British boarding school upbringing. While the two paragraphs are very different, they share a key similarity between them as well as with Michael Herr’s piece: the use of multi-sensory imagery—sight, smell, taste, sound, touch—to create a scene that is both vivid and real, one that makes the reader feel as if they are a part of it.Most of us are deeply connected to certain places. Some are places that we think of with love and fondness, while others may be places that hold a difficult memory. For whatever reason we remember them, they stand out, and feel important. When we see them in our mind’s eye, we can see, hear, smell, and even touch the memories, they’re so clear.