I have learned the value of reading craft books to strengthen my writing. The following exercise is taken from the book Writing for the Senses by Olivia Aragon. Aragon guides the reader to understand how to use all of the senses in their writing. She provides 365 exercises for a year-long journey in sharpening those tools. I will not be doing one per day on the blog, but picking a few here and there. Her first exercise is a quote:
1. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” Anais Nin
What does this quote mean to you? Can you use this as an exercise, too?
This is an interesting quote to start off the exercises for the book. The quote makes writing delicious. I tend to write the happier, fantastic, magical things of life and it is a joy to relish in them, and then to think afterwards of what I wrote. When you write in the moment, it all streams out of your finger-tips. Then it is all there in front of you to reread as many times as you wish. To share with others and have them tell you what it meant to them.
Aragon reminds us that we experience life with our whole body – all five senses. I will even add “six,” if you are into that sort of thing. We must then write with all of our senses awakened. This makes writing the happy and magical all the more enjoyable, and the sad and evil all the more tragic.
Each time I read this quote it takes on a new and different meaning to me. I think first literally of the act of getting the story down and then returning to edit. And then I think of how so often what I have written echoes in my mind long after I’ve left off the act. A masterfully written phrase I am proud of – they don’t happen as often as I wish! The moment when a character acts of his/her own accord beyond any planning of mine. The brilliant conclusion finally falling into place. These things tickle my mind at random times and make me smile. “Ah yes,” I say, “this is the beauty in writing. After long hours of beating my head against the desk and cursing my muse, these are the moments that lure me onward.”