The neat little row of buildings, in one corner of the vast yard, are labeled Batteries, Motor Oil, Books, Aluminum, Electronics, Paint, and Annie's Attic. That last was the largest, made to look like a tiny Cape Cod cottage, with recycled windows and a tiny porch, a wheel-chair ramp on one side. The landscaping was a constantly changing hodgepodge of the rejects from people's lives.
It was the interior, though that drew me. This, to me, is Santa's workshop, FAO Schwartz, and the tooth fairy's kingdom, all rolled into one. One is likely to find anything that has lost its home, from a brand new vacuum cleaner, still in its original box, to a full service for ten of pre-WW2 Narataki china with serving pieces. Treasures I have reaped, in past summers, include
a set of chairs for the deck, needing only a touch of paint to the legs,
the above-mentioned set of dishes,
an antique rocking horse that looked like an escapee from a carousel,
a portable air-conditioner, nearly unused, that kept me cool all summer,
an odd, abortive combination of skateboard and bicycle that, I think, was designed for self-destruction,
several bicycle trailers,
bicycles, draperies, golfing equipment, toys, baskets, paintings, furniture, etc. etc.
Across the yard is a pile. It could be called rubble, but, for me, it is the starting point for serious landscaping. That tumble of rounded stones over there is surly waiting to become the coping on my new retaining wall; the one that I've collected almost enough used cement blocks for.
This is my idea of heaven; the prices are within my budget – free – and the return policy can't be bettered.
(Satellite photo from Google maps)
Choose a scene. The possibilities are endless: a farmer’s market, a family Christmas gathering, a subway station, a forest glade, a landfill, an ocean beach, a ski slope, a football game, the home of one of those pathological hoarders you see on TV, etc.
Think about how you feel about that scene, or put yourself inside the mind of someone who feels a particular way about it. (If you’re a fan, describing his home from the point of view of the hoarder would be awesome. Or, say, describing a kindergarten from the point of view of a student on her first day.)
Describe the scene subjectively, through the lens of the personal experience of yourself (if personal nonfiction) or the narrator (if fiction). Choose details that contribute to the impression you wish to convey. Make your language (the metaphors and similes you choose, the diction—sounds and intensity—of the words, the connotations of the words) fit and contribute to that impression.
Rigorous Critique, Please.