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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


What happens when the ‘map’ of existence as you know it disappears? Instead of a broad landscape you have only a tiny space allotted to you. What will shape your new reality, emotionally and geographically? Going camping in nature gives us a taste of adventure, but fleeing your home with a few grabbed possessions sets a different tone to the journey.

In the movie, Green Dragon, many find solace in establishing daily routines. One young woman volunteers at the sewing tent, and a young entrepreneur tries to set up a mail order business—to both help ease the circumstances and begin to learn to adapt to this new ‘land’ as he is anxious to move forward as soon as possible. Others try to settle in this new location and physically resist leaving the camp when the opportunity arises to find an outside sponsor family. Even with nothing left but a cot in a corner, they still are among their culture and language and refuse to be separated from the threads they still have.

The young children map out their new surroundings and then make a daily tour. Minh in particular makes sure he watches the old man watering his patch of dirt and visits the cook to watch him paint. He diligently reads the notice board, watching for any hint of his family, takes a stand at the arrival gate, checks the bathhouse, the eating tent, and the women washing clothes. He comes to know the routine and lives the camp inside out. When the time comes to leave his understanding and adaptation to new territory becomes the bridge across his uncle’s fears.

Journal Prompt:

Put your character in a situation where she either dreams, or actually experiences, a ‘refugee’ relocation. It can be either by war, or natural disaster. What is the first thing she does to give her space a personal focus? Or how does she resist?

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