Immerse Yourself In Another Language ..... AND Go Star Gazing
Yes, two challenges in one week, because I'm behind and need to piggyback these posts or we will get to New Year's Eve... and I'll still be behind.
But I'm a lucky girl. Turns out both challenges this week were designed to make me think about key words and key themes in my writing.
Oh, the fortuitous connectedness!
Spending time immersed in another language gave me the opportunity to listen to the cadence of words. My Beloved and I snuck away for a coffee date to a local shopping centre well known for its Asian groceries and speciality shops. Most shoppers went about their business, sniffing fruit for freshness, loading up on greens and adding seafood items to their cart I could never identify.
One man who couldn't find his wife rang her on his mobile phone. I tried not to stare but the Chinese chatter from them both rang over the shop and above anything else. I didn't understand their words, but I did understand their frustration. More than the shake of his head, his loud, clipped words told me he was not impressed with her taking off. Through the phone, her replies sounded even less patient. Theirs was a long tirade, easily interpreted as anger and perhaps the heated replies of a couple dealing with more than a lost spouse at the shops.
Within seconds their animated discussion ended in abrupt silence. The husband shoved his phone in his pocket and walked off down an exit ramp. Behind him, a woman holding a pink phone struggled to catch up and eventually let the crowd separate them. She followed in the frosty silence I guess would accompany them all the way home.
But the words rang in my ears. Chinese words I don't know.
But I could translate the sentiment.
The snap-snap of accusation. The higher pitched jabs in reply. And the stone cold pause which screamed the universal false peace at the end of a public argument.
Do my characters argue like this? With the right voice inflection and frustrated body language? Do they use words which convey the deeper struggles they battle?
|Warrandyte Mechanic's Institute|
I went home with more than the image of a solid falling out. In my mind, I evaluated some of the best bust ups I've written so far, in light of the indecipherable argument I watched.
But the watching didn't end there.
Once the sun had gone down my Beloved and I headed for a quiet spot beside the river in Warrandyte. We journeyed in search of stars and other celestial bodies. To contemplate the grandeur of nature, the mysteries of creation and to take in the symbols of the universe.
With street lights to a minimum we were able to spot a few low hung stars behind sillouetted trees. I was reminded of how the Star of Bethlehem is a symbol in the Christmas Story ~ a heavenly revelation of something larger than what the innkeeper, wise men and shepherds could ever contemplate.
Right above us, in the shadow of the 1880's Warrandyte Mechanics Institute, constellations as old as the heavens marked our place in the hemispheres.
|Can you see the stars?|
Through Warrandyte's dim lit apple orchards and all the way home, I mulled over my Phillip Island stories. Where ocean tides and the coming and going of seabirds echo my themes.
Abandonment. Return. Restoration.
And I hoped our Asian couple had unpacked their groceries and their troubles together, and maybe... just maybe, were sipping a camomile tea under the stars on their back porch.
Where are you most likely to find yourself immersed in another language?
Where's your favourite spot for stargazing?
Thanks for reading two challenges in one post,
Blessings for a wonderful weekend,