Take 10 minutes and write nonstop on your scene, trying your best to develop your scene through description as best you can. If it helps you to do so, turn off your monitor and FORGET about spelling errors, grammar mistakes, etc., in favor of coming up with a fully-fledged vision of what your place looks like.

In order to assist you, I am turning off my monitor right now, and writing for 10 minutes nonstop about one of my favorite places in Mililani. Certainly, I might print out this version, see what elements I like from it, and use it in a future draft.

 The Tangerine Tree

It may seem a bit silly, but one of my favorite places still happens to be the small rectangular section in the middle of the courtyard in front of my parent's Mililani home. Today, the rectangular section is filled in with gravel, aluminum foil pans filled with compost and dirt, and a wide host of potting materials, but to me, the section once housed my mother's beloved tangerine tree, a tree that is quite symbolic of all of the viccisitudes of my growing up as a kid in Mililani--and as such, the section is indicative of my loss of childhood.

The rectangular section was nothing more than a nondescript hole twenty odd years ago. Almost three feet in width and six feet in length, the small area, delineated as it was in concrete, left nothing to the imagination other than the fact that it was a space, a rectangular space, one that would immediately be ignored by visitors were it empty. As a child, the space was encrusted by Mililani's ubiquitous red dirt, dirt that would clump at every corner of the concrete--dirt that seemed as though it wanted to escape, to become free to soil rubbah slippahs and my father's boro boro Japanese farmer pants. Yet the dirt was home to my mother's tangerine plant, a plant that provided us with many years of fruit. I use the word plant precisely because at the time it had not become what it was destined to grow into--my family's favorite tree.

There is a picture of myself that I enjoy laughing at to this day that is tied in with this rectangular area and my tree. In the picture, I am happily watering a small, snakelike shrub that has fervently taken root in the red soil. In my Underdog bibadeez and with my hair, as usual, unkept, I tend to the tiny plant as though my very existence depends on it. For some reason, looking back on the picture today, I cannot believe that I once had tiny blue boots that small, or that a small, insignificant shrub would grow to become a powerhouse providerof ripe, delicious tangerines.

Looking at this space, this empty space, filled as it is with gravel, I can only feel a sense of loss and nostalgia for a tree that has disappeared out of my life, along with the fruit that I once took for granted. These days, if I want to eat a sweet tangerine, I have to beg some relative to give me a slice, or wait until somebody with a glut of fruits in their yard will give me a bag or too. Gone are the days when mom would make some mochi during New Years and put one of our ripe tangerines on top of the pile for good luck; gone also are the days when Dad and I would spit the tangerine seeds at each other's heads, hoping to hit each other square in the forehead with a globule of spit and seed.

Thus, that empty patch of land, one that I once watered, sat under, enjoyed, harvested, and treasured--it's gone, pau, kaput. I'm left wondering whether the symbolic disappearance of my tangerine tree represents something that has become lost in myself--my immaturity, perhaps, or even more importantly, my childish outlook on life, when everything was sweet and full of energy--vibrant, orangey, and delicious. The gravel that has now taken root over the defunct tangerine limbs that were once so prominent in my parents yard seems to be gravel that gradually threatens to encroach upon every aspect of my inner core, making me, as the days progress, more and more of a nostalgic adult, one who yearns for the simple pleasure of 'small kid time.'