“There is no there there.” -Gertrude Stein
In most writing, the where is at least as important as the what. In some of the best writing, the where is the what. Take this as my ham-handed way of acknowledging that sense of place can never be an afterthought.
So, whence the sense? How do you inject (infect?) your writing with it? I have no idea and with due respect to everyone, I’m guessing no one else does. Specific sensory details can help:
- The exact speed at which sunlight inches down the Yellowstone River over the course of the afternoon.
- The way July garbage pickup morning in NYC unites the leftovers of McDonald’s with the leftovers of Masa under the same umbrella of stench.
- The peculiar roughness of ten century-old sandstone in Angkor Wat.