So for something completely different this week I have drawn on a couple of writing exercises from my writing group, South Side Quills, from recent months and some old images from our South Australian trip in 2013.
My writer's group had two exercises - one was a short travel article in 300 words and an exercise in Purple Prose.
What is Purple Prose....an explanation from the web....In literary criticism, purple prose is prose text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself. Purple prose is characterized by the extensive use of adjectives, adverbs, zombie nouns, and metaphors. Purple Prose-Wikipedia
For my travel article I drew on our stay in September 2013 at Arckaringa Station set in the visually stunning Painted Desert in mid-South Australian outback country.
With relief we pulled up under the shade of the gum trees surrounding the Arckaringa Station homestead. We’d had enough of the heat, dust and the rocky track. As we piled out of our four-wheel-drive a station truck pulled up and a craggy weather worn face uttered “g-day” from under a battered hat.
Hobbsy, the station manager, waved his hand towards a clump of scrubby trees and told us to “pick up spot” to set up our camp.
We had been on the road for a few days, so a hot shower was high on our agenda. Housed in a corrugated iron shed the showers definitely had a rustic Aussie outback feel but they were clean and the water hot. Just make sure to shower early as you don’t want to be left in the dark when the diesel generator cuts out!
Although the facilities might be considered basic, this was more than compensated by the views of central South Australia’s spectacular Painted Desert from our camp.
Evolved over 80 million years, this fragile landscape, which was once an ancient inland sea bed, is slowly eroding away revealing the rich colours of a desert artist’s pallet beneath the surface. It is not surprising that Arckaringa has hosted many groups of painters, photographers and geologists over the years.
Mt Arckaringa and the Painted Desert is only about eleven kilometres from the homestead out along the Arckaringa to Oodnadatta Road. The area is protected within the Arckaringa Hills State Heritage area and mostly inaccessible due to ruggedness and Aboriginal cultural sites. A public access track leads to a parking area from where there is a half hour walking track to the lookout. Bring your camera and a fly-net.
At days end we sat in the comfort of our camp chairs and watched the changing colours of the Painted Hills and the desert sunset.
|The Painted Desert late afternoon|
For the "Purple Prose" exercise I changed the introduction paragraphs (78 words) of this sample article to Purple Prose (282 words!) In fact the first sentence is 88 words long! There was a lot of laughter amongst our members when I read out my piece at my writer's group.
We gratefully welcomed the long-awaited-for respite from the constant bone-jarring jolting of the rocky dusty track as we steered our red-dust stained white Prado 4-wheel-drive through the wire strung gate hanging precariously by its hinges to a fence post which appeared to have been fashioned from a rusted piece of railway line, and steadily decelerated before braking to a halt beneath the thin dappled shade cast by the trailing blue tinged leaves of the tall stringy Coolibah trees encircling the low roofed, wide verandahed Arckaringa Station outback homestead. (88 words) The typically Australian fragrance of eucalyptus assisted by a slight lazy breeze assaulted our senses as we prised ourselves from the cramped stuffy confines of our four-wheel-drive and into the searing red heat of the midday desert sun. A battered station truck which appeared to have not been washed for many years, if ever, rounded the corner of the nearby empty cattle yards and came to a stop in a cloud of choking dust beside us. The door of the truck creaked open and a craggy, lined, weather worn leathery face with a chin covered in grey stubble, uttered a gravely “g-day” in a slow drawling listless way from under a shabby tattered Akubra hat which was so ingrained with dust that it was the same hue as the red dirt.
We soon learned from his introduction that the man was Hobbsy, the station manager. Hobbsy was somewhat short on words as if he would rather not deal with city slicker tourists, as he waved his hand unceremoniously towards a clump of low scrubby trees across the yard beyond the sheds and curtly invited us to “pick up spot” to set up our camp.
I must hasten to add that Hobbsy was not like the Hobbsy I have described above...he was in fact very friendly and accommodating and was a long time and well respected employee of Arckaringa Station.
Would I recommend Arckaringa Station? Absolutely. It became one of our favourite destinations in outback South Australia. I wrote about it for Go Camping magazine in October 2014 edition, and also a campsite report for On the Road magazine, April 2014.
I hope you have enjoyed this little exercise on Purple Prose.
You can read more about Arckaringa Station on my blog post be clicking here - South Australia - Woomera, Coober Pedy and the Painted Desert
or on Facebook - Arckaringa on Facebook
|Drumsticks - at Arckaringa Station|
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