Try This: A Sense of Place

janav Creativity, Try This, Writing Leave a Comment

I attended a week-long conference in Denver last week (hence the lack of posts). I’ve been there a couple of times now, and don’t really hblue_bearave a total feel for the place, but to be fair when I’m there I’m not in explorer mode – I’m working, or hanging out with a good friend. What I have seen, I like. The parks, the restaurants, the laid-back feel, the sense of space around the city, and the snow-capped mountains in the distance… it has a very different vibe from the northeast, where I live.

Unless you travel frequently, it’s rare to go somewhere new, to take yourself completely out of your familiar haunts and routines. But it can be a jolt, and awakening: hey, this is new! Fertile ground for the imagination.

If you can, go somewhere you haven’t been before. It doesn’t have to be a distant city or country, and it doesn’t have to be for a week. It can be a nearby town you’ve just never been to for whatever reason. Jot down your impressions. Sketch them with words or images. Write down ten things you noticed, and then make a short story or poem out of them.

My Denver list: Industrial loft, clean lines and concrete floors, spacious and light; elk and bison on the menu; cowboy boots; dogs, dogs, dogs – all on the leash!; trains – new lines extending outward in all directions, train to the airport at the end, de-coupling cars clashing and thudding in the night; cinnamon croissant as good as France; bad coffee; the 16th St. Mall shuttle and the friendly gap-toothed man who asked if I needed him to “mess somebody up”; parks – neat paths, volleyball, acro-yoga; the dim threat of rain nearly every day, that almost never fell.

There could be so much more, but those are a few of my Denver experiences and impressions. Take a trip, even outside your door – sometimes being a “stranger in your own town” can be just as illuminating. What do you notice when you’re paying attention?

*For those who are wondering, the image above is the Blue Bear who, for whatever reason, is voyeuristically peering inside the Colorado Convention Center. It’s like, two stories high. Whimsical and fun and very unique!

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