Friday, September 10, 2010

A Grand Idea!

Recently a few writers talked about taking a break from their work.  They went on fabulous vacations to cleanse their writing palettes, free up their minds, refresh their spirits.  My undiagnosed ADD can't seem to figure out how to do that.

Well, obviously I want to and do go on vacations--I just can't leave the writing at home.

Not too long ago my husband and I went on a vacation to celebrate one of those special numbered anniversaries.  Our flight to Phoenix left before any sane creature woke.  That morning, I stuffed last minute essentials in my carry-on bag and stumbled to the car.   About the time we hit security, I realized my laptop had been a stow-a-way.

We drove in a rental car from the airport to the Grand Canyon and arrived a few hours later.  Long day?  Sure!  Find our hotel and catch a few zzzzzs before checking out the scoop? Not a chance. Who could wait for a good night sleep to explore God's awesome creation?  A gorgeous sunset had been painted by the hand of the Creator.  No way would I miss that.

The first view from the South Rim took my breath away.  I couldn't speak.  The second, third, and fourth views produced the same result.  Good grief! I'm a writer.  What could I do?

My heart pulsed--I wrung my hands--there must be words.  Words!! Woords!  Must have wooords!  Majestic, vast, beautiful, breathtaking popped into my head.  No--not clear enough.  Were there words for the Grand Canyon?  That's when a grand idea came to me.  If I could figure out a way to describe the Grand Canyon, even in the smallest measure, my laptop and I would be happy.

Words provide meaning to things around us.  How could I capture the Grand Canyon to--say--a blind person who had the ability to see at some time in his or her life?

Now that you're hooked...I won't share my answer until it's time to comment.  Rather, take this challenge:  How would you describe one of these photos to someone who can't see them?

View 1

View 2

View 3

Sooooooooo what would you say?


Beth K. Vogt said...

No, I'm not jumping in to share my answer to your oh-so-challenging question! I haven't ingested enough caffeine yet to tackle it! But your question reminded me of how author Laura Ingalls Wilder used to describe things to her blind sister Mary. I think doing so helped Laura become a better writer. Her skill at verbally painting pictures for her sister strengthened her ability to write stories.
Question: Was it easier to describe things to Mary because she'd had her sight for a few years, so she had some frame of reference?

Mary Vee Writer said...

I can't imagine describing the Grand Canyon to someone who was born blind. Now that would be the greatest challenge.

Silent Pages said...

Okay, you asked for this!
View 1: Ridges and ridges of rock carved out of the earth, chipped away, with bands of bright, orangey red and other colors striping across.
View 2: Orangey, rough cliffs, with more bands of color and – further down – it looks almost like piles of sand pressed up against the cliff and sliding down, with little vein-like rivers curling back and forth in the very bottom.
View 3: A grayer stand of rock jutting up, with two lone trees spaced out upon it, and more green foliage to the right. There are more cliffs behind them, off in the distance, but it looks like there’s a haze over them, so they look like a backdrop painted onto the horizon.
That was fun! And a very good exercise to practice describing things. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks for your descriptions. You layered your words much like the Grand Canyon is layered. As a listener would heard your words they could picture each piece of the word puzzle to formulate a picture.
Well done!!

Mary Vee Writer said...

I decided to try view #3.
Speaking to my blind guest:
My friend, we stand before a creation as large as the air we breathe. Like the air, I cannot see the end, it is all around me.
In the direction we face, God planted two desert trees, close enough to see their leaves, yet we cannot reach them. A jagged depth, as powerful as fear, fills the space between us and the trees. The image is as clear as the features on a persons face.
Beyond the trees, towers of rocks stand next to one another. Some stand so close they almost appear as one. On this day, the rock towers have lost their color. A thin blanket hanging in front of them has prevented sun rays from painting colors. The towers have wafer thin lines etched across them. If I close my eyes slightly, I can see hues of crimson in some of those layers.
Beyond the rock towers sky pretends to be blue. The thin blanket hanging over the rock towers has stolen most of the blue from the sky and threw it behind the towers. Perhaps if we come back tomorrow, the blue will return.
As far as I can see, there are rock towers with jagged depths in between. Take a breathe, can you feel the Grand Canyon?