I enrolled myself in a travel writing class recently, it is one of my very first writing class. There are only a few of us in the class but quite some interesting people. Anyway, travel writing is different from what i thought it was. It wasn’t just about writing your experience and stuff but something more. After the class I just wanted to take out one of my blogs about Singapore but I will try not to do that for now so it will serve as a reminder on how I wrote. Besides, reading it again doesn’t seem as bad as I thought it was. I thought I had written everything that had happened to my trip in Singapore like I was babbling to a friend but reading again didn’t seem like so. Whatever attempt to do another travel writing, or any blogging, I am hoping that at least 60% of the time it has some meaning into it.
There were some points that we have to always take note of in travel writing. My notepad is in the other room so I will try my best to recall what I remember. One of the very important things would be about the PUNCH. The relevance of one sentence and the next to the entire theme of the writing. I make a lot of mistakes about this. I felt quite ashamed because often times i’m such a writer / storyteller. There are days when I just babble from one point to the next that I forget a) what topic I currently am right now b) what i really have to say. It is one of my problems as a writer too aside from talking/writing really long things. Some important points raised was also about travel writing being more than boasting about the coolest thing you have done which is what we often hear in males involved in drinking and retelling stories. It’s also a lot about your experiences and what you want readers to know. Not just about your daily routine or what time you woke.
Other points that we had highlighted in travel writing (with a TedTalk video) was that we had to make our audience work for it. This means not being very direct. It reminded me of this group I am part of where we had to make a story and had to voice it with the person blindfolded in front. We had to make her feel fear, sadness and panic by using words rather than saying it directly. I always believed this way would have more magic to the experience. Other points would be “characters have to have spine” and “stories can’t be static”. It is not a series of scenes where the entire picture is shown. I like how photography was compared to this. The framing, the composition, the technical stuff that are used to capture the photo. Whenever I am in danger of falling into that static trap, I just have to remind myself of photography. The angle,the composition and etc. Other points that we had taken would be to “draw from what you love”, to “have readers surrender to wonder”, to “have a journey” and to have “anticipation”. The last one she had used the example of an article where it started something similar with “the last living whale hunter wakes up at the strong winds”. This denotes drama with the setting showing what kind of place, a harsh place, the hunter lives at and the drama that the certain person is the last living whale hunter.
We had more talking done. Something I believe will always be an important aspect in learning. Getting other people’s point of views, their thoughts, their knowledge and using it. We talked about why we travel, what makes us travel and how we use our senses when we travel and write. This was almost everything that we did during the 2nd session where we had to write about the TOWER room.
the sense of taste:
I don’t need to put my tongue out to taste the room and risk looking silly, but I sometimes do it. Taste to me has always been related to smell such as my distate for durian. i barely smell the brewed coffee but the back of my tongue unwashed with water tastes like very sweet coffee like the candy kopiko but somehow different. It has a taste enriched by the banana bread. The combination of which I love when I eat. The taste of coffee in my mouth has a more roasty aftertaste as compared to kopiko. Somehow, like one of the people in the room said earlier, I do not know why but I taste the vintage feeling of the room and now that I think about it, I taste paper and Styrofoam maybe not with my tongue but with my memory.