Nearly fifty years ago, the writer George Perec spent three days sitting behind a café window in Place Saint-Sulpice in Paris recording everything he saw. In his short book, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, his observations of mundane occurrences and objects often considered unnoteworthy—passersby, cars, buses, pigeons, signs, and slogans—are documented. This week situate yourself in one spot, perhaps in your home or workplace, or in a public space like a park, busy crossroad, commercial area, library, or café. Then, jot down the objects and behavior you see, and the snippets of conversation you hear. Write a lyric essay composed of these notes, trying to avoid interpretations or analysis. Taken together, how do your observations create a portrayal of a specific time or place? Pay particular attention to how one observation might lead to another, and to potential rhythms and repetitions.

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Author: Writing Prompter

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  • June 5, 2024