Writing Prompt #13: The World Around You

One of my favorite things to do to relax is to just take a few minutes to breathe, to look out of the window, to watch people and listen in on conversations, and then record what I’ve seen and heard. I know several writers who make it their routine to do this once every day, and have told me that in the process they become both better observers and better writers. In times when I don’t have my journal or laptop with me, like today at work (hard times!), I type myself a good old-fashioned email and title it whatever comes into my head. Here’s today’s observation. I’d love to hear an observation from you own day as well!


It iced last night. When I walked out of the apartment this morning to go to work, everything was covered with a thin sheet of ice, the pine needles of the trees around our building glazed and translucent in the weak morning light, icicles dripping from the rooftops. My car was frozen over, and I had to crack the ice with my scraper to get the door open.

It’s 11 am, and still everything outside is grey. Looking down from the sixth floor of our building, Raleigh looks like a forest of silent white trees, their limbs and clinging leaves frosted and still, flowing in crackling waves to the heavy grey sky.

Laura is here from New York, and says she should have stayed there. “Raleigh looks like a forest in one of those sad fairy tales,” she says. “The ones where children go through the wardrobe and never come back.”

And I can almost see it, the traffic frozen, the wind gusting down the silent streets between the abandoned white skyscrapers, and the children, a brother and sister, bundled in their North Face parkas, tiptoeing between the frosted trees, their cheeks red in the cold, the city fading to mist behind them.


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