Prepared by: Pam Hauck
Posted on: April 24, 2004
Reposted on: May 8, 2005
Don't fly Mister Bluebird,
I'm just walking down the road
Early morning sunshine tells me all I need to know
-Dickie Betts (The Allman Brothers Band)
Nature surrounds us whether we live in New
York City, the suburbs of
or the Alaskan wilderness. It's everything alive in the natural world
be found at parks, zoos, seashores, windowsills, and more.
Nature Writing- also known as
environmental literature or the
place or landscape writing- includes essays, journals, field notes,
short stories, poetry, prose poetry, children's books, autobiographies,
other forms which consider the natural world in relation to the human
experience. Nature writing begins with observation and is descriptive
introspective. It is often associated in American literature with the
Henry David Thoreau.
Contemporary nature writer Annie Dillard
chronicled her nature walks
in in her
Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek." Here's the
"I used to have a cat, an old fighting
tom, who would jump through
window by my bed in the middle of the night and land on my chest. I'd
half-awaken. He'd stick his skull under my nose and purr, stinking of
blood. Some nights he kneaded my bare chest with his front paws,
arching his back, as if sharpening his claws, or pummeling a mother for
And some mornings I'd wake in daylight to find my body covered with paw
in blood; I looked as though I'd been painted with roses."
More information about nature writing is
available at the following
Exercise: Observe nature in your everyday
life. In 400 words or less
create a scene and write about your observations. Use descriptive
details and sensory imagery. Use color and texture. Tell us how nature
affects you. Be honest and don't make things up.
Critiques: Can you "see" the writer's
observations? Was the
narrator's style distinct and personal? Would you have done anything
Extracurricular activity: Keep nature
journal and submit entries
during Free-for-all week.
Pam Hauck's wrap-up
Posted on: May 3, 2004
Thanks to everyone who participated and
helped make this week's
We've seen a broad variety of approaches
to nature writing. Some
were based on childhood memories while others were set later in life.
read about ants, hummingbirds, Thank you birds, kangaroos, an old
a brown recluse spider, worms, and more. Stories were set underwater,
creeks, in back yards, and in Brooklyn.
Hopefully, the submissions and critiques
helped all of us learn more
writing from our observations and experiences with the natural world.
I appreciate everyone's response and wish
you the best with your
Pam Hauck's wrap-up
Posted on: Sun, 15 May 2005
Thank you for participating and making
this week's exercise another
success. Your submissions and critiques made for interesting reading.
Once again, we were presented with a
variety of approaches to nature
writing. Some submissions had the narrator inside looking out, others
the narrator in the middle of nature surrounded by vivid sensory
and descriptive details. We had stories with a swimming pool, marigolds
menstrual blood, and an urbanite in NYC finding nature as well as many
Observing nature and our experiences with
the natural world gives us
information to create scenes with, even if we aren't specifically
I wish you all the best with your
submissions. I hope to hear some
Web site created by
Rhéal Nadeau and
the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.