For anyone who has ever read William Zinsser’s On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, you’ll know he’s very calculated and precise when he creates a piece of writing. He urges people who want to write to “get on a plane”. He explains, “If a subject interests you, go after it, even if it’s in the next county, or the next state, or the next country. It’s not going to come looking for you”. This applies to any situation — not just writing. Writing is a concrete way to jot down memories. Journaling and blogging are ways to record experiences, so that’s what my travel blog is for.
Zinsser is partly right; in order to capture a new experience, it is a good idea to board a plane. It isn’t necessary to book a flight somewhere simply to tell a story, though, because a writer — amateur or professional — can express an emotion or share an experience from any perspective. I stopped blogging because I had thought my travels weren’t interesting enough to publicize. I haven’t gone on an exotic trip in a while. However, I still explore on a daily basis! Like Zinsser, I thought I would find interesting stories by traveling. Some travel writers are locals who write about familiar places. If I’m not on a fancy trip somewhere, I can still discover something interesting to write about closer to home. Today, I felt the need to do something different and break my usual routine.
I don’t know about you, but Fall Back confused my sleeping schedule. I woke up early on Sunday because the orange glow of the sunrise begged me to open my eyes. I ignored the sun and tried to sleep, but my flimsy blinds lost its battle with the sunlight. I went for a walk. Did I mention I dislike rising early and exercising?
As much as I would rather sleep in and plop myself in front of the TV, I left my cozy house. Bleary-eyed yet mentally awake, I ambled along the tree-lined paths of my neighborhood. The houses, painted different pastel colors and blocked off from strangers by soccer-moms’ SUVs and white-collared sedans, represented a sleepy suburb. Within its manicured lawns and wood-paneled walls, I imagined that young children slept soundly while parents prep their waffle-makers and juicers. But who knows?
The houses sat by glistening lagoons that looked pristine from the outside. I’ve never seen anyone row boats in them in all the time I’ve lived here. All the row boats that wealthy people owned in the community lay overturned in their spacious backyards. If Nicholas Sparks relocated to anywhere outside of North Carolina to write about a similarly picturesque community, my hometown would probably be where he set the scene for one of his tragic romances. If Hollywood decided to remake “Dawson’s Creek”, I’m sure the casting agents could find a dozen Joey Potters sneaking through windows of the aforementioned houses.
What’s the story? What can be found within this middle-class community? I don’t have to travel far to find a story to write about. Granted, I may not write about my hometown in the future. I wonder what I might find if I decide to write about it.