For this week, you’ve read Ethnographic and Naturalist writings, as well as narratives of discovery such as Columbus, Smith, and Bradford.
For this week, you’ve read Ethnographic and Naturalist writings, as well as narratives of discovery such as Columbus, Smith, and Bradford. In this journal entry, you need to write a piece of creative nonfiction of your own in which you use writing to engage with the natural world. This assignment has a few steps to it.
Step 1: Go for a walk, go out onto a patio, go into your back yard, wander around your apartment complex, visit a greenway or park, etc. Just follow social distancing guidelines and stay more than six feet away from other people. If you are not able to go outside or if you feel that it is not safe for you to go outside, open a window or look out a window from which you can see aspects of the natural world (trees, plants, animals, etc.–something besides buildings and cars). Set a timer if you have to, but spend at least 15 to 20 minutes walking or looking and observing, making quick notes about what you observe as necessary. You could even record your notes as a voice memo.
Step 2: Write at least one full page in which you describe or explain some aspect of your experience with nature during step 1. You could use one of today’s assigned readings as your inspiration or you could just write something reflective that expresses how you felt about being outside or observing nature intentionally. You can use any background knowledge you already have about plants and animals in your area; you can also do some quick research if you need help identifying a plant or animal that you noticed and want to write about. Be detailed and specific in your writing; describe things as carefully as you can. You may include sketches if you’d like, but do not include photographs.
Step 3: Write a second full page in which you explain how your nature writing is similar to or different from something you’ve read for our class this week. For example, if you narrated your experience, how was your narration similar to or different from Smith’s or Bradford’s? (Not in terms of content, I hope, but in terms of writing strategies, tone, etc.) If you described animals or places, how was your writing similar to or different from the naturalist writings for this week? Remember, since you are probably in a more familiar place than the writers we’re studying were in, your writing won’t be similar in content. Instead, I’m asking you to think about the tone, strategies, organization, etc. Try to think more about HOW the things you read work instead of just thinking ab