Writer's Notebook


Posted on January 28, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the times," and refers to the mood, feeling, and attitudes of a time period. One of the excercises we were asked to do in my Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction class was to pick a place and show the zeitgeist through our writing.

Saigon, Viet Nam, June 2012

A Taxi took us through the city, which pulsed with life, even at this late hour. Mopeds, the favorite mode of transportation, passed us. During our stay in Viet Nam, the record ammount of passengers we would see on one was 9. But tonight there were only one or two passengers on each.

Wow, that looked a lot longer in my notebook. It took about a page. The picture below was taken in the park across the street from the hotel, where the taxi was taking us. We got to the hotel at midnight. The next morning after breakfast we walked in the park, and this is what we experienced (excerpt taken out of my diary):

We took a walk in the park after that. We saw women practicing a fan fighting technique, a man teaching martial arts and gymnastics, and some boys kick boxing. There was a cute little boy with an adorable giggle running around with a soccer ball, and a chubby little kid at the pool about to jump off the diving board in a speedo. We also saw an art class in the park drawing trees.

I didn't share my diary entry with my classmates, but we did share our zeitgeist excercises, and my classmate totally got it:

"I'm getting the vibe that the time is now--or recent, at least. The 'spirit of the times,' I guess, would be bustling with life--fully alive. I feel swept into a place where you can hardly help but be thrown into movement and life."

Can you think of a place that you have traveled to? What was the zeitgeist of that place when you went there? Has it changed? Is it different from the "spirit of the time" that you grew up in? In your own writing, what is one of your best examples of zeitgeist?

I'd love to hear the answers to those questions! If you want, please leave a comment for me! In the mean time, keep writing!

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Categories: Writer's Notebook, Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction

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