...lift a rubber tree plant! From the old song “High Hopes” (Frank singing- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S94Bh3Qez9o/ )
But we’re not here today to talk about an ant being strong. Have you ever just sat and watched an ant scurry about? Or watch a leaf by the toe of your shoe in great detail? And then note the colors, the smells -- truly becoming immersed in the object?
Or sitting in a coffee shop and seeing a hunky cyclist at a table tying his shoe lace bunny ear style. You make note of his pro-looking outfit. The sweat dripping from his forehead. His scruffy beard. (Oh my, I’m finding my imaginary guy desirable!)
Writing details is important because it relays senses to the readers and invests them emotionally.
The five senses are: Tasting, Hearing, Smelling, Feeling, Seeing. From “The Five Senses” by Dr.William K. Pediaopolis
(http://udel.edu/~bcarey/ART307/project1_4b/ ) we have this definition: "A system that consists of a group of sensory cell types that responds to a specific physical phenomenon, and that corresponds to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted."
The five senses have to be incorporated into our writing. Otherwise, our work is boring, even lifeless, unresponsive. Who would want to read that?
Tasting–Enables us to distinguish food choices. Say, I bought a slice of lemon pound cake. It’s the color of yellow daffodils and has a bit of white, nearly translucent, icing dribbled over the top. When I take a bite, the sharp lemon hits my tongue in a pleasing way, followed by the sweet sugary frosting. Both flavors complement each other. I like the taste so much, I want to make it last forever and chew slowly.
Hearing-is about the sounds we distinguish. Perhaps, the coffee shop uses real mugs and our imaginary cyclist knocks his against a plate. The ring from that hit captures our ear, and we turn to see who made the noise. Suppose there is a lot of hustle and bustle in the store and all the comings and goings distract us. There’s the snap of a newspaper. The zip from a laptop case. The scuffing of shoes. Someone sneezing.
Smelling- Enables us to distinguish odors. As Mr. Cyclist carries his brew to the table, a breeze pushes a whiff from the coffee toward us, teasing our nose and we have to have a drink now! The scent of coffee is greatly appealing to many people, but maybe not to others. Taste is tied with Smell.
Feeling-Distinguishing the quality of bodies. Back to the lemon pound cake—I touch the corner to break it off and feel the crisp outside edge. As I pull my section away, little crumbles fall to dot my plate. I press my finger to the crumbles. They are soft and light.
Seeing- Mr. Biker has finished his drink. I watch him push his mug and plate to one side. He drops the balled paper napkin on top of the empty plate. He bends over and reties his shoe in the bunny ear fashion.
In college, I took an Art Appreciation class. The teacher assigned us to find a spot and observe for twenty minutes. I sat upstairs in an area that overlooked the gathering spot below. I noted the color of the furniture-blue, but not navy blue, fabric with silvery specks. And off to one side sat a guy from one of my classes. I watched him read and occasionally, glance up when someone passed by. He wore jeans, not too faded, and a white button-down shirt. His hair was nearly black and had a wave.
Sounds stalker-ish? LOL. The purpose of the class was to heighten our awareness for when we studied paintings. To note details.
Writing details can make the work sing, but too many can cause a book to be tossed aside. Writers have to have a good balance in their work.
Here's a passage from "Raving Beauty:"
"I can't believe I let your loony brother, who's tormented me all my life, talk me into this."
With my eye on the teenage competition standing off to one side, I tugged the swimsuit’s leg opening into place to better cover my hip. "Just because I did some modeling in college doesn't make me a pageant diva. Back then, I was incredibly skinny, and clothes fit easily."
"Daniel is a rat. He took advantage of your third, or was it your fourth, margarita, Kelly?" Maggie Ackerman, my best friend and roommate, adjusted the scarlet satin sash draped across my body. Glittery stick-on letters spelled out Miss Yahoo! Ranch Steakhouse. "Don’t worry. You’re beautiful and will be fine. Now, hold still."
I watched her pick my brown hair at the crown of my head with an old-fashioned teasing comb. When the eerie suspicion I resembled a scary dame with Big Texas hair from the television show, “Dallas,” I turned my head to avoid the mirror.
"Close your eyes." She blasted my hair with several short bursts of super freeze-it hairspray. "Now, that ain't goin' nowhere."
As a reader, do you notice when a writer uses the senses? As a writer do you use some senses and not the others?
Love blossoms in small-town Sommerville in these stories filled with fun and foreverafter.