Cities in Books - a waste of words: on learning they are not by Tsara Shelton
The descriptions of cities in books used to seem like a waste of words to me.
While I skipped school, riding buses and subways around Toronto—uptown, downtown, outskirts of town—voraciously reading book after book, I would approach these descriptions with snobby annoyance. Tell me what they’re thinking, who these characters are! Tell me why they think what they think! Tell me what they’re going to do and why! I don’t care about the city, I care about who they want to include in their lives and the description of themselves.
As I tied my school uniform’s burgundy sweater around my waist, feeling it tickle the back of my bare thighs—exposed despite the school rules about the length of our skirts—I’d change the tape in my Walkman from Metallica to The Pogues and step off the subway. Smiling at strangers and delighting in the smell and wind of Toronto underground, I would promise myself that one day I’d write equally moving novels as the ones I collected insatiably. But I would use less wasted words.
Describing cities and sunsets was for painters and poets, not novelists.
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Tsara Shelton is an avid writer of musings, a sipper of coffee, a reluctant performer, and an unapologetic story addict. As the mother of four mostly grown boys, she loves discovering and sharing her own beliefs so that she can comfortably expect her sons to do the same. Her book, Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up, wants badly to gets its own place and stop talking about Tsara, but it’s just not looking likely.
Connect with Tsara on her website www.tsarashelton.com or on Twitter @TsaraShelton