This week’s prompt is a tricky one. We’re asking you to borrow a style of writing (after… after… after…), as well as a subject matter (arriving). Are you up for the challenge? A few of you have agreed to light the way. These beautiful examples by Kaitlyn Reese
offer some added inspiration for an extra challenging prompt.
Here it is:
In her essay “Arrival Gates,” American author Rebecca Solnit describes her long journey to the rural mountainside in Japan, where thousands of orange gates—shrines to the God Inari—form zigzagging trails up to the summit. Notice how in this opening passage, Solnit repeats the word “after,” showing the sequence of events that led her, eventually, to the mountainside:
the long flight across the Pacific, after
the night in the tiny hotel room selected so that I could walk to the world’s busiest train station in the morning, after
the train north to the area most impacted by the tsunami in the Great Tohoku earthquake of March 11, 2011, after
the meetings among the wreckage with people who had seen their villages and neighbors washed away, after
seeing the foundations of what had once been a neighborhood so flattened it looked like a chessboard full of chards, after
hearing from so many people with grief and rage in their voices talking about the walls of water and drownings and displacement and refuge... I arrived at the orange gates
It is at these gates, on this mountainside, that Solnit finds a sense of peace. But she's also aware that this experience is not divorced from what came before. Whenever we arrive at a new juncture in life—whether it’s seeing these mountainside gates or mastering a math theorem or meeting a soul mate—a series of circumstances have led us to this point, shaping the meaning of that moment.
So, dear writers, let us “arrive” with you at an important moment in your life:
Think of a significant moment—make sure it's a very specific moment, at a specific location. Now think about how you "arrived" there. This could refer to the physical logistics, or the emotional journey, or both...
Invite the reader to arrive at that moment with you. Like Solnit, write a series of phrases beginning with “after…” that culminate with your arrival.