Skip to main content

Writing Exercise #2 for Setting as Character

Today I tromped all over San Francisco to collect sensory details, photos (and a snack or two) from each of the neighborhoods that my novel's characters live in.  Now, they are not real people, but they do live in a real city, so the fun of it all is finding little details that I would never have noticed before because I'm trying to look for them through my character's eyes.  I discovered a few inconsistencies that I'll need to go back and fix (silly things like the wrong bus line, or the fact that type of architecture doesn't appear in that 'hood), and found a few details I will want to pepper the text with.  Mostly, I just had a really fun time walking all over the city (I clocked 6.5 miles of walking!), and BONUS, the water in my apartment was shut off for the day so it really was the perfect excuse to get the heck out.  Oh, and the weather was about as gorgeous as could possibly be.  Okay, now I'm just annoying myself with my own happiness.  Here are some pics from the day:
This little tree is JUST about to bloom.  Don't forget to turn your clocks forward this weekend!


Pretty Dolores Street with all its palm trees


In the Mission, murals are everywhere.  This one invites you to have an oceanside moment.

Gorgeous door in the Mission

Ah, Pop's.  I raise my glass to you.



A favorite taqueria and its accompanying mural

Dynamo Donuts for late morning snack!  Holy moses, that molasses guiness donut was good!!  Please also see the Gibralter: a drink that originated here in SF

View from back porch of Dynamo Donuts includes the strangest cat walk ever.  No porch: just a two-by-four leading to his cat door.  

Stop sign art made from shedding palm trees

Just liked the lines on this place

And now we come to Alamo Square with the prerequisite shot of the painted ladies.

Poppies!! 



Intersections: Muni art

I'm gonna go soak my feet now.  Have a great weekend!!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

For Mom, Twenty-One Years Later

I lost my mom twenty-one years ago today. She died from complications related to a long battle with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis. I was a week away from turning twenty-one. Which means I have not had her as long as I did have her.
It used to make me unique among my friends, to have lost a parent at such a young age. But I’m no longer young and many friends have joined this depressing club. The dues are astronomical and no one prepares refreshments.
People, moms are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Whether you were once a child or are currently a mom. They are the sun, moon, and stars, even when they are completely obscured by darkness.
I wish she mattered less. She doesn’t. She matters more than almost anything: that first hit of love, that childhood sense of safety, that initial understanding of what it means to be a woman in the world: mom.



Memory is funny when it comes to dead people: I can remember her any way I want. Which means I can also mis-remem…

Book Review: Anything is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout

I inadvertently found myself in possession of an advance reader's edition of Elizabeth Strout's newest book, Anything is Possible. It's set to drop on April 25th.

Scrabble's response to the title: Does this mean I can eat ten times a day?
It's a companion, a follow-up if you will (but not a sequel) to her last novel, My Name is Lucy Barton. Which was fantastic and spare and a perfect example of Strout's phenomenal carefulness in her writing. I loved it for all those reasons. I love Anything is Possible for completely different reasons.

It's a collection of linked stories, not unlike Strout's Olive Kitteredge. Each of the stories showcases a particular character referenced in My Name is Lucy Barton. In My Name, conversations with her mother over the span of a few days reference a host of do-you-remembers, and whatever-happened-tos involving offscreen characters that are delightfully interesting in their own right. Anything is Possible is full of these ri…

The Thankful List

I make a decent attempt at gratitude on the regular, but I love how this season makes me think about it specifically. Even in the midst of all the holiday hoopla and the days of generalized anxiety we currently live in, there are genuine reflections of thankfulness everywhere. Way more so than say Valentine's day prompting people to really reflect on their love for someone. I've been keeping a list in my notes app on my phone to record the things that are currently immense suppliers of joy in my life. Here's an incomplete list:

My dental hygienist.
This is not a product placement disguised as gratitude. This is my genuine, heartfelt gratitude for a woman I see every six months who I have complete trust in, and who makes an otherwise unpleasant experience as humane and awesome as possible. Yes, yes, my dentist is also great. Absolutely. But making a teeth cleaning a pleasant experience is a gift not many hygienists possess. It's a combo of demeanor, the exact right amou…