Writing Prompt #3 — Guided Imagery (is a major challenge to me)

Just below the collarbone, fear is sitting, all a-stir, wondering should it leap out through your voice.  “What street is this?”  “How did I get here?”

Pay attention.  Think.

You’re driving home from work.  You’re only driving home from work.  There was a detour.  You know this street.  Just find the sign.  Remember.

You have lived here twenty years.  You have driven down Lake Drive.  It intersects with Hall Street.  somewhere.  somewhere.

There it is!  A corner!  Green street signs:  Lake Dr., Breton.

And you do not know which way to turn.  Left.  It must be left.

On you go, and NO!  Breton now should come to Hall Street.  Lake Drive should have come to Hall Street.  When and where does Lake Drive come to Hall Street?  somewhere.  somewhere.

This is Reeds Lake now, and I am lost in East Grand Rapids, and I know my home is OVER THERE — somewhere.  somewhere.

Backtrack now, okay, there’s Breton.  Should have turned the other way.  Which way, now, would be the other way?

Finally!  Oh, finally.  I see a landmark, and it isn’t backwards.  I can place the billion times I’ve passed here, now.

I’m sure which way is Hall from here, at last.

I was less than a mile from my home, on roads, every one of them, that I’ve traveled every day.  But not this way.

Have I described sufficiently how it feels to be “directionally challenged” as I call it?

I’m extremely intelligent, even creative.  I have a good sense of direction in a lonely place where I can see the sun, the stars or the sky.

In my own home town I must be very careful to pay attention, or I will not find my way.  I take the same route every day.  To keep from getting bewildered.  I never do get lost.  I am smart enough to compensate.  And I never let the fear rise any higher than my collarbone.

In a strange city, I just follow a map; and that is very easy for me to do.

But I cannot, absolutely cannot, describe for you the route I travel.  I do not see the landmarks.  Not in relation to each other, anyway.  I know where some things are.  Heck, I guess I know where a lot of things are.  But not in relation to each other.

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23 Responses to Writing Prompt #3 — Guided Imagery (is a major challenge to me)

  1. ~ Kira ~ says:

    That is most interestng. Is it a form of dyslexia? It sounds quite frightening.But you know something I learned from all the moving around I've done? (Air Force, all that) Eventually you will get to where you're going. And getting lost can help you learn your way around even better than before.But I don't know if that applies if you are "directionally challenged."

  2. yup, same here. I'm hopeless at giving directions. I navigate by instinct, can't tell you where anything is, how far down that road before you get to the junction…btw, do you realise you changed over from second person to first part-way through?enjoyed your piece!

  3. yes yes yes! that's the only way I can learn my way round a new neighbourhood – getting lost and finding my way back.

  4. Rani Kaye says:

    I have NO idea. I have simply always been this way, and compensated. Didn't even realize until a few years ago that most people do not have this difficulty.

  5. ~ Kira ~ says:

    A lot of people have similar problems, but not to this extent, I would imagine. Even my husband, who is extremely good at directions, got turned around when we moved from California (where he had lived most of his life) to South Carolina. Suddenly, the ocean was to the east, not to the west.I'm sure if you did a little research you could find out more….

  6. Rani Kaye says:

    Yes. I thought about flipping back, but changed my mind. I cannot visualize the path, but I sure as heck can re-feel the emotions as I describe; and I simply had not the energy to go there again by editing my writing.Most writing I edit, proofread, and edit some more. This piece, I can barely even tell if I conveyed what I wanted to or not. My heart is still pounding, in fact.

  7. ~ Kira ~ says:

    Dang, girl. You gotta do something about that.

  8. Rani Kaye says:

    What would I "google" to find out what it is? And even if it had a label, what would that help? A support group, ya s'pose? LOL. So far, it hasn't interfered with my life at all. This is the closest I've ever even come to describing it to anybody. I always get where I need to go. and home again.

  9. sorry, I don't think I realised the enormity of it for you.

  10. Mama Bear says:

    How it feels to be a man.. who refuses to STOP and ask directions?? giggle

  11. Mel Weinerth says:

    Glad you made it thru that .To have a problem like this is scary an it comes thru loud an clear as you were writing thought it was a story then it became you an that was very clear. Take care girl.

  12. Wow! I felt the terror that you felt, amazing piece! Have you ever thought about buying a GPS ?That could help you out tremendously!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_SystemSome models are quite cheap these days.

  13. ~ Kira ~ says:

    I wonder if this is a very specific form of panic attack? You are describing how you felt when you had to detour from your usual route. That can be frustrating and even a little scary for any of us, especially if we're not sure how far out of our way the detour will be and how long it will take us to get back to familiar territory.Your fear definitely seems more than just the normal concern one would experience in that situation. If you have a therapist or someone like that you could talk to, it might be beneficial. And it might help if you kept a city map in the car, even though you are familiar with the area. It could be comforting to know you have a backup if you need it.And if you don't want to go to the expense of getting a GPS, just installing a compass on your dashboard might help.

  14. Bill Johnson says:

    Some names in most towns in America are misleading to a stranger.Telegraph — whatever is so common as to be a road hazard.I never know where I am if you ask me the name of the road but I never get lost except once.I wanted a shop near to Crystal Palace in London. Easy to find with its large TV Arial.Three hours I motored around lost.I later found in the last ten years it had build an identical one three miles away. lol

  15. Rani Kaye says:

    I just got an iPhone a couple weeks ago, and it has GPS, so that should be the end of this minor affliction.Note to Kira: The "panic" impulse is about half-a-second long. Reason kicks in immediately and I talk myself through it. But RECREATING it in memory to write this last night — now that was a bit more heart-pounding. Never did that before. Won't probably have occasion to do it again, either. So I guess there's no point in paying somebody to shrink it for me. But thanks for the love!Whatever "this" is called, I do think it's why I skim through scenery descriptions when I read novels, and why I don't particularly write fiction. I don't think I have much of a "visual" space in my brain to store pictures. No "MY PICTURES" file, so to speak. Hence, my poem: http://ranikaye.multiply.com/journal/item/224/Repost_-_Writers_Block_Challenge_27Also, when I do particularly attend to visual cues, this is what happens:http://ranikaye.multiply.com/journal/item/179/Writers_Forum_Find_Your_Muse_9_Language_Barrier

  16. So it's not just me?I skim through descriptions because the visual side just doesn't connect with my brain, it doesn't register at all. And in my writing, I am very very skimpy with details.The first short story I wrote was about a garden – this woman discovered a secluded garden that gave her space to escape from the difficulties of her life. People in my writing class pointed out that I had managed to write about 1000 words without describing what the garden looked like… I had to force myself to think up something, but it was a huge effort. I just don't do visual.

  17. ~ Kira ~ says:

    I remember this! It is one of my favorite things that you have written. But I didn't pick up so much on the "directionally challenged" thing because it was set in a foreign country so it is understandable that you wouldn't know your way around.I am a very visual person, but if I am writing a story where action is important, I try to incorporate as much of the description in the action as possible. Sometimes visual detail is important to set the mood, so I give it more attention (as in "The Station" – latest Writer's Block entry). That's why I love Writer's Block and other writing challenges that involve pictures. But sometimes the pictures just don't do a thing for me….so I don't spend my time on the challenge.I guess there will always be parts of my writing you (and Meirav) will skip. Oh well. If you find yourself not understanding what happens next, go back and read the description. 😛

  18. yes, definitely… I'm sure your descriptions are lovely but I just don't register that sort of stuff. I can enjoy something visual when I see it, but reading the description in words – it just doesn't translate into a picture in my head.that's why guided imagery exercises don't work very well for me…

  19. ~ Kira ~ says:

    Admittedly guided imagery is pretty intensely focused on description. But one of the things I learned in the creative writing classes I have taken is to remember to involve all the senses in your writing, whether you are writing poetry or prose. That is one of the ways you draw your reader into the scene and make them feel a part of it. Obviously it is something that must come naturally as part of the story. But it is something to think about…

  20. Kathy A says:

    This is interesting. I often take roads I don't know on purpose – looking for alternative routes – and get "lost" per se. The girls will anxiously ask, "are we lost?" because it's a route we've never taken before. I just shake my head and tell them, "it has to come out somewhere" – – and it always does.

  21. " I don't think I have much of a "visual" space in my brain to store pictures." I think that is why I can only draw what I see. I have visions quite often, and I think what a beautiful image for a painting, but it is so brief and so fleeting that I can't grab hold of it. I 'd like to know how Salvador Dali did it. He is one of my favorites. I simply can not see things in my mind, but I am good at directions. I found my way back to an old homestead when I was in my late teens, and I hadn't been there since I was a baby. I remembered landmarks, but I don't think it was so much a visual memory as it was a verbal…because I would say to myself you turn at the graveyard…and it was the words that I remembered, not the scene. I think my father always coached us, especially while hiking, to remember this tree trunk, or this big rock, etc…same thing while we were riding in the car.

  22. ha ha… what optimism… I remember when I was learning to drive, I went out for driving practice with a friend and took a different turning somewhere, different to the way I would normally go with my driving instructor. Got into a neighbourhood that was unbelievably confusing, all the streets looked the same, wherever I thought I could turn back I found a sign saying "private, no turning"… I said to my friend, I think I might have to text my driving instructor and say: pick me up in Ferring on Thursday afternoon, I've been there since Tuesday and can't find my way out…

  23. ~ Kira ~ says:

    LOL if this was in England, I totally understand. Even in the short time I was in London, I found the streets an absolute maze.

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