Non-Fiction #1: Living Places

I wrote this for a Non-fiction class my last year in college after I spent two months abroad in Scotland, England, and France. Honestly, it seems more like prose poetry than non-fiction, but it’s such a flexible genre, it probably works either way.

I had so much fun writing this, so I hope you enjoy it too!


France, she is something to behold. She is all fierce business woman and suave socialite, born of ancient tribes and conquerors and revolutions. She is at any moment dressed to the nines with her soft pink sunrises through a haze of graying mist, her rows of summer lavender, and her drives lined in Lombardy Poplars. Her picturesque coasts of glittering Mediterranean waters, soft sandy beaches, and jagged slate cliff sides belies the painful secrets of desperate struggle and stubborn survival. A stranger wouldn’t recognize the significance of her five beaches on the northern Normandy coast or the trenches on her northern border or her small town of Oradour preserved in its state of destruction. And Lord knows, her past carries secrets even darker than that. And here she stands, powerful and charming. People across the world fantasize on her romance, stand in awe of her monumental artistry, and crave a mere taste her richest aged wine. Built on ages-long battles and heartache, she is the poised woman of fashion and culture all others only wish they could be.

Scotland is the roughhewn warrior, just this side of animalistic, all wild braided hair and a broadsword strapped to his back. Something fierce and never quite domesticated for all people have tried to tame him. In him exist swaths of earth where no man’s foot has ever touched, no man’s house ever built. He is rigid mountains of sharp slopes and jagged edges, yellowed grassy whiskers, dustings of white snow at his peaks, and deep sucking bogs at his foot. Long and narrow lochs that cut through mountain ranges and scattered coastal islands guard his heart. To those unfamiliar to his charms, he is brisk winds, cutting rain, frosty breath and bone-deep chills. But for those he calls his own, there is a warm hearth to welcome them home from the storm and breaks of sun to warm their cheeks. He is the righthand man after centuries of dueling for the crown, but in the end, he is loyalty and the ace the crown reaches to for strength in crisis. He is proud and dignified. His people stand behind him for honor and family and march to the piper’s song as it echoes through his wild land.

Oh, and England is Queen, regal and historic in her modest garb of white gloves and luminescent pearls. She is soft wrinkles of lush green hills and sweet cottages nestled in hillsides. Lambs are nurtured in her steady hands adorned with age spots. She is honored tradition and propriety, well-defined and preserved over centuries. For all her bearing of poise, she is steeped in military might of towering white cliffs and fortresses. She is her allies’ esteem and her enemies’ bane.  In her youth, suitors fought for her hand, seeking her dowry of metals and fertility. In her prime, she ruled the world with a straight back and firm hand. In her motherhood, she fostered her children, her experience their guide though life’s cruel trials. Now, in her longevity, she watches and waits as the new generation grows and learns at her knee. She is on the cusp of something bright-eyed and hopeful with a heart of something ancient.

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