I went to a writing group meetup tonight. It was a bit unnerving as I had never really read aloud things I had written other than for school.. As part of the meetup we did a writing exercise. The exercise’s premise was you crash in a plane in the Mississippi river and surface 11 minutes later. The city is completely different than it was before. Write about that changed city. Here is what I wrote, presented without editing from the quick writing exercise.
As I emerged from the river, it was rapidly apparent that in my short time under water something unusual and surprising had occurred. The ever present towers of the chemical plants were gone and the noise of cars was missing. The buildings of downtown maintained much of their original structure but there were subtle differences once one looked closer. Perhaps I had been under far longer than seemed possible and had surfaced in some new Baton Rouge years into the future.
Where once chemical plants and oil refineries dotted the river shore with industrial structures and intimidating smoke stacks and tanks, there were instead young trees and swamp plants. The beginning of a new ecosystem was growing along the banks of the ancient river. The air felt somehow more pure and my body so used to the air of my city reacted with confusion to this strange new place I had found myself transported to.
As I ventured up from the river banks, I noticed that while the car noise was missing, the city itself was not abandoned. It buzzed with life but the previous vehicles had replaced with silent and sleek machines that evoked memories of a science fiction book in my mind. The new vehicles moved with an efficiency that I could not have imagined before my unfortunate time in the river.
I wandered through downtown seeing the changes and realizing just how much was different. Buildings had subtle changes that reminded me of the house of the future cartoons of my childhood. Just how long had I really been under and what would the inhabitants of this strange new version of home think of me.