A sense of place

Yesterday I went to a writing workshop with the theme ‘A sense of place’. The guest speaker was Rosanna Ley. Her latest book came out last year with the title: ‘The little theatre by the sea’. The workshop started of with a little visualisation exercise. We had to close our eyes and imagine a place we feel comfortable in. Any place, form the present or the past. Then she asked us to write down the following:

How does the mood of the place change during the day?

How does the place feel in different kind of weather?

How does it smell?

Taste?

Touch?

What is the atmosphere, the mood?

Emotions related to the place?

Do you want to leave?

During this exercise I thought about the house I grew up in in Germany. How, when my dad was still alive, it made me feel and how it has changed, now that my sister is living in it with her husband. It is no longer my home.

Rosanne told us about the importance of researching a place we are using in our story. There was a very valid point she made about how going to a place might change a person, or the character of the person.

I grew up in a little village. At the age of seventeen I moved to ‘the big city’ (Frankfurt). The city changed me. I lost my broad country accent and adapted to speak what is called ‘high German’. My style of clothes changed, as I felt the need to blend in, at that age. I had all entertainment and culture at my fingertips. Living there made me grow as a person. My knowledge and my confidence grew. Unlike in high school, I was very popular at college there and felt accepted and comfortable in my own skin.

I think coming to the UK has changed me as a person quite dramatically. In many ways I feel like I have no roots. I lost some of my confidence I gained whilst living in Frankfurt. When I first started living here my English wasn’t as good as it is now, and I could not get my sense of humour across and often felt misunderstood. I still sometimes do today 😉

One person made the point that even sometimes having to stay in hospital for a while changes a person. I totally agree with that. Last May when I had major surgery, I left the hospital as a different person.

Having studied Coleridge for my MA, I became very interested in how changing place or scenery instigated a change in him. Connecting with nature more often than not, changed the mood of his poems.

I quite often think about how different my life would have been if I had stayed in Germany. I would most certainly not be the person I am today. It is just amazing how a place can change you as a person and what affect it can have on you and your life.

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