In our second blog post getting you writing about your hometown, author (and now Booked! Cumbernauld residency author!) Mike Nicholson takes you on a mind’s eye walk through your hometown.
“I find that I can think back clearly to where I grew up – a big old house on a busy road in Eskbank, half way between Dalkeith and Bonnyrigg. My immediate community were the houses along our road, particularly the ones between where we lived and Watson’s newspaper shop. Even in a short stretch of main road like that there were landmarks; the pine trees across the road, the distant chimney of the carpet factory, the camper van at number 57, the postbox in the wall in Muirpark not to mention the people behind each of the front doors. All of these are still clear in my mind today even though only the postbox and the doors remain. It’s amazing how the places where you live become engraved in your memory.
What I really liked about where I lived was that a short walk took you past hedgerows and fields to a disused railway and onto Newbattle woods and the River Esk. Once again that area has completely changed now. In fact the railway has now re-opened so everything is fresh and new. But I can still picture in great detail each of the paths I explored.”
Whether you’re sitting in a café, on a bus or in your armchair at home, you too can open your “mind’s eye” and go on an imaginary walk around your home town.
Although the focus here is on Cumbernauld you could replicate this activity for wherever you live.
- Where in Cumbernauld are you going to begin your “mind’s eye walk”? What’s your reason for choosing that starting point? Is it an important one for everyone or just somewhere that has particular meaning for you?
- Where does the walk take you and what are the landmarks along the way, big or small? Do any of these have special significance or even your own made-up names for them? In the woodland I used to visit there was the ‘Bear Tree’. Only our family knew it as that.
- As you go on your walk what else do you see? Strong memories that merit a plaque to let everyone know , or things that really need to change to make the place better?
- If you sat for a moment on this imaginary walk and watched the world go by, who would go past? Are there conversations with neighbours or strangers? Are things fast paced or laid back? How does the atmosphere make you feel?
Quite often a walk like this can refresh your view of somewhere you have become used to and you can have a rich source of material for developing a story, whether that be the memory of an incident on a street corner, the strange mark on a wall you’ve always wondered about or the house with the garden full of gnomes.
So why not take a ‘mind’s eye walk’ at the start of 2017. Take a fresh look at what your town has carved into your memory and take a moment to write about where you live.
You can read more about our Cumbernauld Project on our Booked! blog, but these writing prompts can be used for any town, city or village!