Free Style Writing Challenge

pen in handI was tagged by Sue Vincent at Daily Echo to participate in a free style writing challenge.

I chose to to set the timer for ten minutes (I am not as fast a typist as Sue, so I figured I’d need the longer time! As it is, I ran out of steam almost two minutes before the timer went off.)

My question was: If you could visit, for just one day, in any era and location, past, present or future, where would you go and why?

Albert Bierstadt - Sunrise, Yosemite Valley

Albert Bierstadt – Sunrise, Yosemite Valley

I would go back to pre-colonial America. I would love to see what our land looked like when only the Native Americans possessed it.

I read once that you could travel from the Atlantic coast to the Great Plains under tree cover, except for crossing rivers. I would love to see and experience that! See what birds, animals and plants were native and untouched by invasive species that we are plagued with today.

Yosemite Valley - Bierstadt Albert

Yosemite Valley – Albert Bierstadt

The first eyewitnesses told of great abundance of wildlife. I wonder what that would be like? The air would be so fresh, the rivers, clean and drinkable. Virgin timber, hundreds of years old. Great, massive trees reaching for the sky. What a wonder that must have been.

American bison

American bison

Or head out West and see the sequoias before 90% were cut down. See the Plains teeming with buffalo and antelope. The rivers and streams filled with fish. Pure Eden. Migrating birds filling the skies, flying over for DAYS at a time, in the clean, fresh air – oh, to see that would be so amazing. I dream of earth in its untouched splendor, undisturbed by the hand of man. Buildings, farmed land, roads, industrial blight, all destruction, gone. A fantasy, but it would be amazing to see!

(230 words)

These are the rules, and if anyone would like to participate in this fun, short exercise, please feel free to do so. I get to tag another five bloggers, who have no obligation to join in unless they so choose!

So I shall nominate: Woodland Gnome, Silver in the Barn, Elizabeth de Grazia, Ellen Shriner and Being Margaret.

Your mission, ladies, should you choose to accept it…

1. Open an blank Document

2. Set a stop watch or your mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes, whichever challenge you prefer.

3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!

4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds!

5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)

6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals.

7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.

8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy & paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).

When you have the document and the timer ready to go, scroll down to see your subject…






If you could meet anyone real or fictional, from the past or present, who would it be and why? What would you talk about?

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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40 Responses to Free Style Writing Challenge

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    That’s beautiful, Eliza x

  2. Nice post. I sometimes think I should have been born in that era because I find satisfaction in working hard and like using common sense to figure something out or repurpose or recycle an item. 🙂

  3. You did this free-style? No hours of self-flogging to get it just right? Sheesh, Eliza, you’re a natural at this. And I simply love the shimmering paintings you’ve chosen to accompany this post. They estimate upwards of 30 million buffalo, maybe as many as 60 million, once roamed the Great Plains. Can you imagine the size of the herds? I guess Lewis and Clark saw much of what you describe. What a sight it must have been. Great post!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Barbara. I love the way Bierstadt painted light – so amazing. And to think that all was only 150-175 years ago.
      Hope you can join us in the challenge!

  4. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Yes! This is great. What a perfect place and time to visit.

  5. mfryan says:

    Such a great idea! Please tell me how it is…:)

    Love the art you chose. I’m trying to remember which museum I’ve seen them in. So beautiful – I remember standing in front of the piece for a long time. Chicago maybe? Or DC gallery of art?

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Peggy. Smithsonian has a large collection, maybe it was there? I’ve always been enchanted by early American landscape art, particularly the Hudson River School. It is easy to get lost in those paintings. 🙂

      • mfryan says:

        Yes I totally agree! They seem to capture the light and ambiance in such a special way that rarely translates on camera…

  6. arlingwoman says:

    Bierstadt is so wonderful. There’s another one at the Nat’l Gallery that I love called Kindred Spirits–Hudson River School, I think by Asher B. Durand. It portrays Thomas Cole and William Cullen Bryant over a gorgeous landscape. Anyway, kudos to you for choosing a time and describing why you’d like to see it. To me it would be like naming my favorite book, an impossibility!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, it is something I wish for a lot, to see a pristine wilderness. I envy your proximity to the Smithsonian museums, etc. I visited once more than 30 years ago, but saw only a small part of it.

      • arlingwoman says:

        The museums are great. But I know what you mean about wondering what it was like before settlers. Sometimes I’m on the river or climbing somewhere and wonder what I’m seeing looked like to the first person mapping it. And the flocks and schools of fish….

  7. Jewels says:

    Just lovely, Eliza…

  8. spanishwoods says:

    I could not participate in this because I would simply say, “Ditto Eliza.”
    Beautifully written.

  9. Robin says:

    Wouldn’t that be something to see? I’d love to travel with you back to that time just to get a glimpse of all that untouched beauty. Wonderful writing, Eliza, and I love the images you chose to go with it. 🙂

  10. dorannrule says:

    I love your fantasy trips Eliza!

  11. I have also thought often at what the land would look like when only Native Americans were present. I always try to imagine crossing the mountains, valleys and how it would feel. I like the comment about tree cover. That would be amazing to experience.

  12. Karen says:

    Those pictures fit perfectly with your description of time gone by. Beautifully written Eliza.

  13. Julie says:

    You are amazing! Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing just 10 minutes of your time.

  14. Sharon says:

    Outstanding! I admire your seamless blending of words and images so much, Eliza. Writing well is hard. You make it look easy.

    Love the paintings and I love your idea of seeing precolonial America. Something I’ve never thought about but yes, it would be amazing. A new perspective to think about. Thank you!

  15. reocochran says:

    Beautiful post with hauntingly lovely paintings. You have captured some of our imagination in this. I would like to go back to see my two grandparents who met on a street corner. I would like to be their age and hang out together in New York City. My Grandpa was from Sweden and was going to Brooklyn Technical School (or college? not sure) and my Grandma was a waitress at the Waldorf Astoria. I would like to hear more of her stories about the famous people she met while waiting on them, Eliza. Would you like to be a ‘fly on the wall’ with me or be their age and hang out? Smiles, Robin

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Hi Robin, thanks so much. Your grandparents stories must have been so entertaining. I would love to be a ‘fly on the wall’ in many historic events. Ancient Rome, watching the Pyramids under construction, the American Independence movement, the Elizabethan age, so much of history is fascinating! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  16. Debra says:

    I would make that trip. When I read the descriptions of those early times they seem almost impossible — that maybe they exaggerated. A paradise.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      There are plenty of journals describing what was found, particularly those of Lewis and Clark and early settlers. Migrating Passenger pigeons darkened the skies for days, as did monarchs. One is extinct, the other dangerously close. Humans have overrun the planet, there are few wild places left. It makes me rather sad to think of the millions of lives that were/are still lost in our quest for dominance. I hope we can figure this one out before it is too late. 😦

      • Debra says:

        Yeah! I mean these things were so well documented so I have to believe but it is hard to imagine. The cod fishery for example … people could put a bucket into the sea and pull up a fish nearly every time! Like you, I sure hope we can stop the madness. I’d hate for my grandchildren to someday ‘wonder’ at the things so many people take for granted today — the small bits that are left.

  17. You certainly capture the greatness of what was once such an amazing wild and perfectly balances ecosystem.

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