Karalee’s Post #15
Yesterday was spectacular.
If you celebrate this occasion, the above two words conjure as many different memories or expectations as there are people celebrating it, or not celebrating as may be the case. But hands down I’d bet the entire Christmas turkey that my family enjoyed, that a common thread in those memories include an inundation of the senses.
For instance, the turkey.
As a child one of my strongest memories is running into the house after playing outside in the snow for a few hours and smelling the turkey still in the oven and the freshly cooked huckleberry pies cooling on the counter. And I can easily picture the golden brown bird resting on the counter and feel my mouth watering in anticipation of the first mouthful. As writers we have probably learned that the greatest trigger of memory is the sense of smell, but as children we learned that plugging our noses to obstruct the smell decreases the sense of taste of those “special” Brussels sprouts or broccoli passed around the table along with the turkey.
The dinner table is full of bantering as we fill our plates. Then there’s the inevitable exclamation of my mother’s at forgetting the buns warming in the oven or one of the vegetable dishes left on the counter in the kitchen.
All of this busyness is followed by momentary quietness as we eat.
Except it isn’t really quiet if you listen. There’s utensils scraping the plates, the clunk of wine or water glasses being placed back down on the table, the Christmas music in the background, someone coughing or sneezing, the chewing of food, a chair scraping the floor, a vehicle driving by outside, or snow (or rain) being blown against the window in the dining room.
And we smell, taste, and see the food as well as the room with its decorated table and special plates and candles. We look at each other and feel the companionship (unless someone fights over the second turkey leg) and the overheated house from cooking all the food.
It’s all part of the ambiance, the setting, the experience of the moment.
It makes me pause and remember that our writing needs all these senses; the sights, scents, sounds, tastes, and feelings whether emotional or physical.
And the reader needs to experience important moments in the fullest sense.
And of course, the moment must make sense to the plot.
Does your writing have these moments?
Christmas festivities have distracted our 5Writer’s group this week and I can guarantee all of us have had our senses stimulated too, whether dancing and eating on a cruise ship, running after grandchildren, or visiting with friends and family.
I challenge all of us to fill our writing with the five senses. I tend to use mostly sight and sound, but am going to be more cognizant of them all. There’s no time to go back and improve my story at this point as time is flying too fast to even smell the roses (I expect for all of us except for Joe who can have a bouquet in every room or one in all of his character’s hair or even squeeze the rose buds into gallons of perfume).