Come up with a list of four or five names that are unique to your
place. They can be names that are peculiar to your region, or just
names of things like birds or types of weather, that signify the
specialness of your place. Make a list, and briefly describe each name
Writing Sample:Herbie: A term used in McMurdo to describe the
fierce storms that come up out of the south, coming down off the South
Pole and rolling onto the Ross Ice Shelf. The rule at McMurdo is that
if you cannot see Mina Bluff, a thin peninsula south of McMurdo, then
you have about an hour and a half to find shelter before a Herbie
crashes down on you. The narrow pass between White Island and Black
Island, islands just south of McMurdo, is known as Herbie Alley.
Skua: An infamous gull-like Antarctic bird. The Skua comes back to
Antarctica in the summer months to nest and feed. They are aggressive
birds, known around McMurdo for dive-bombing humans and for their
tenacity when it comes to foraging for food. They are so intrepid that
they've been known to perch, switching hot feet one at a time, on the
edges of sizzling barbecues, in order to get first dibs on the
hamburgers grilling there. They are also known for being dumpster
Skuaing: A term used to refer to human activity in McMurdo, the
equivalent of Antarctic garage-saling. To "skua" something means you
have put an item of clothing or a book or a coffee mug in the "skua
pile," which means you are getting rid of it and offering it up to
someone else. To go "skuaing" or to have "skuaed" something means
you've visited such a skua pile and snagged something good.
Typically, anything good left in a skua pile lasts about five minutes.
Katabatic: Antarctica is shaped like a bottle cap, sloping from the
interior plateaus down to the coast. As elevation drops and the air
warms, gusting winds, called katabatics, grow strong and rush down upon
the lower elevations. These winds can get up to 200 miles per hour and
can erupt quickly and last for days. The name comes from the Greek word
katabasis, which means descent.
Sastrugi: Hummocks and drifts of snow built by the wind that make the
seemingly flat Antarctic landscape a maze of small hills and dales.
Sastrugi are hard on skiers and vehicles trying to cross vast flat
Piedmont: This word means "mountain foot" in French and is used to
describe the "foot" of glaciers that spread out in much the same shape
as a bird's foot. Piedmonts are glaciers that come from land all the
way to the edge of the sea.
Analysis:Listing unique names that have to do with a place is
a good generating technique. You may not use the names themselves in
any piece of writing, or the exercise might not yield anything that
you'll want to put in an essay, but it may help you see patterns in
the place you are writing about, or it may help you think of incidents
or ideas associated with the words themselves.