I’ve shown you mine; now, show me yours. Here is a quote from a recent article in a well-known newspaper. The writing is typical of too many of the new “written content” on-line media writers. Using what I and others teach about active and clean writing, edit this piece. Then use the last ten words of the last sentence as a prompt. Ignore the underline in the original text. (If you send me your edited piece, I’ll tell you where this came from.)
Finally scrambling out of the bush of New Zealand’s South Island, I paused, surveying the alpine valley in the foreground. Then I saw it. Nestled against a slab of moss-covered schist stood a modest structure, no larger than my 8 feet by 12 feet college dorm room. With excitement and relief, I clambered toward Cameron Hut.
As a 10-year-old, entranced by the cinematic landscapes of Peter Jackson’s “The Fellowship of the Ring,” I wouldn’t have guessed that backcountry huts would become a focal point of my travels in New Zealand. Sixteen years later, I had come for the forests of Lothlorien, the peaks of the Misty Mountains, the hills of the Shire. But it was in the huts that I immersed myself in the culture of those landscapes and spent time with the people who know and value them most. New Zealand’s wild spaces deserve their fantastical reputation, but it is the country’s commitment to this vast network of public huts that fosters something unique: a community of strangers even in the most remote backcountry.