Writing Experiment: The Walks

by Debi

I think I’m finally semi-happy with my latest “experiments” for one of my classes this quarter: A daily walk through local parks taking photos as I go, inspired by Sixty Morning Walks by Andy Fitch and photographic walks taken by sculptor/photographer Richard Long.

My contraints for this current experiment have been:

  1. I must walk in a different park within the Auburn city limits each time
  2. I must document the course of the walk with photos (ideally with semi-appealing photos)
  3. I can only take photos with my cell phone’s camera (and it’s a super crappy camera so this is a HUGE constraint!)
  4. I need to walk for at least half an hour (but no longer than an hour)
  5. I need to pay close attention during my walk and try to remember what I saw, felt, heard, thought … and then to write about it after returning home
  6. Post it on my blog with text and photos

On the first day’s walk, I took too many photos in general, and also too many photos that all ended up looking the same. Trees and the river. Bushes and the river. Trees and a pond.

So the 2nd day I tried to limit myself more to things I thought were unique and interesting (in almost an architectural sense). Forms, lines, sculpture-ish things.

I also realized after fiddling around for awhile, that I prefer the photos from the walks to be in black-and-white rather than color. Adds to the sculptural feeling a little bit, I think.

And surprisingly, I find it’s really difficult for me to write in sentence fragments.  My original plan was to make lists and write simple phrases.  Things ended up wordier than I’d planned. Also, I hadn’t realized how reflective I’d end up being about earlier days at these same places with my kiddos.  A modern day series of walks became a semi-memoir.

Looking forward to being able to ask questions of Andy Fitch on Tuesday night about his process writing Sixty Morning Walks.  He’ll be coming into our class to talk about his books and his writing.  Before I had actually tried doing my own “walks” and writing about them, I didn’t realize I would have any questions for him.  Now I have so many, it’ll be difficult to know where to start.

Not sure how many walks I’m going to do.  The original plan was Week of Walks, but the whole process has ended up being more time-consuming than I’d originally planned for, and I still have other homework that needs to be done.  Oh, and I have a life, too.  I don’t just study and walk.  🙂

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