A trip down memory lane
Hi Jin Lu,
Hello and welcome!
Your first entry has certainly captured everyone’s imagination here. You’ve got a really interesting and evocative writing style, Jin Lu. I think Pilar might be onto something when she commented that writing mystery novels could be your calling.
The story of your first journey away from home is something that lots of us can relate to, I’m sure.
One of my first trips abroad was when I was at university too. Although I’d been to foreign countries before, I’d pretty much always gone with someone from my family, if not my whole family. But this trip was just me and a student pal, going to a debating competition in Princeton, USA. As the plane took off I remember feeling so far away (in both senses of the word) from almost everyone I knew. And I found that both incredibly liberating and unbelievably frightening at the same time. Did you feel that on your first trip and/or do you still feel it, even now?
Because you have such a poetic turn of phrase it’s quite difficult for me to give you precise feedback. What to me (or others) might seem like an ill-chosen word or a wrongly worded sentence, might be the exact way you planned to write the sentence in order to evoke particular feelings in your readers. However, I’ll mention just a couple of things I think you might find useful. First let’s look at this sentence:
Far on the horizon vaguely appeared some colours of lightness.
I know exactly what you mean but I think we can improve the sentence structure while keeping your interesting imagery intact.
The issue with the way you wrote the original sentence is the vaguely appeared part. Something either appears or it doesn’t. You could use vague to describe the quality of the light or the colour (nouns, not actions). Even then, another word like indistinct would be better because vague is usually used to describe thoughts or language. You could change your sentence one of these ways if you like:
Far on the horizon some colours appeared indistinctly
Far on the horizon some soft colours appeared
Some colours appeared on the horizon
Far on the horizon I saw some indistinct colours and lights
Faint colours appeared on the horizon
Next, let’s look at the word moving:
I had never seen such a moving picture before
I’m sure you know moving has two meanings:
1. going from one place to another
I think you were after the second meaning but, because you were talking about a train (which moves), the picture you were looking at outside your window was actually moving! Am I right in thinking you really wanted to tell us about how you felt as you looked out of the train window? If I am, instead of moving perhaps touching or evocative might fit the bill better. What do you think?
That’s all for now. Thanks again for your interesting posts. Looking forward to reading more.
All the best,
PS I should also mention that I’m going away on holiday for part of October (to the States again. I wonder how I’ll be feeling on the plane this time!) While I’m gone, some of the other Learning English team will be blogging with you.
captured everyone’s imagination - everyone thinks it’s very interesting or it has captivated everyone
evocative - making you remember, imagine or think about something pleasant
be onto something - know something or be correct about something
your calling - your vocation, the job that you are meant to do or that is very suitable for you
relate to - connect or empathise with or understand
far away (in both senses of the word) - far away has two meanings – remote in physical distance and remote in emotional distance. If you say something in both senses of the word you want to use both meanings of a word. Here, because I was high up in a plane on my way to America, I was physically far away from my family but because I was travelling without my parents, brothers or sisters, I felt emotionally far away from my family too
a debating competition - a contest where people argue for and against particular topics or subjects for a set period of time
incredibly liberating - very freeing, able to act or behave in a way that you want to, without restrictions
turn of phrase - way of saying or writing things
ill-chosen word - wrong word or not the best word
intact - complete
issue - problem
were after - wanted
fit the bill better - be more suitable, be better suited
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