Hey, gang! Mae here with a fun, short and creative writing exercise. Let me set the stage…
Way back in the days of yesteryear when big hair bands ruled the rock scene, and stirrup pants, legwarmers, and neon jelly bracelets were a popular part of women’s fashion, I was browsing in my local Newscenter and happened upon a creativity workbook called What Does Childhood Taste Like? The title intrigued me, and when the author, Jack Maguire, promised “mental workouts that will stretch, bend, and energize the way you think, respond, dream and create,” I knew I couldn’t leave without purchasing it. Three decades later, I still pull out that book on occasion and engage in an exercise or two. (That’s my copy on the right with the original cover).
Many writers (including myself) have tricks and rituals they employ for stimulating their muse. As silly as it sounds, I keep a dozen polished stones strewn under my computer screen that I fiddle with when I’m stuck on a scene. Remember rock tumblers? There’s something about a rainbow of smooth, colorful stones that resonates with my creative side. Other times, I play instrumental music in the background (usually lilting flutes, strings or piano) and, still other times, my muse requires complete silence. When we’re in sync, good things happen. When we don’t connect, I degenerate into a hissy fit because a scene isn’t flowing. During those times, I picture my muse as a disinterested recluse who needs to be coaxed. Thankfully, those moments are fairly rare.
Like me, my muse has a fondness for the past–old photos, cherished memories and long-ago dreams conjured from summer afternoons when childhood tasted like bubblegum, smelled of sweet clover, and felt like cool pool water on sun-warmed skin.
Looking back, I realize much about my writing life has remained the same. I’m still crafting stories, characters and worlds. I still poke around in that old workbook, and I still love recalling the tastes, sights, scents and feel of childhood. My muse has matured with me, my partner through the journey, but there’s a part of me (undoubtedly, of all writers) that never grew up. It thrives on make-believe and what-if possibilities. The only way to appease that part is to create worlds and characters who populate them. The same as I did in childhood. 🙂
So, I ask you . . . what DOES childhood taste like? Even if you’re not a writer, take a moment to associate an idea and share your comment. If you prefer, you can choose to answer what does childhood sound like? Smell like? Feel like? Or maybe you’d like to try all of the senses. The idea is to close your eyes, forget the present, and recall the magic you felt as a child. What made you happy? What made you smile or gave you the shivers?
Or maybe you’d like to try another path more in line with the month of December…what does Christmas taste like? Give it a try. Even non-writers can benefit from mental stimulation, creative thinking and, heck—some out-of-the-box fun! And should you like to pick up a copy of the book What Does Childhood Taste Like, Amazon has a Kindle version for $1.99 (cover at left) or used print copies starting at .27 cents. Not too shabby for a creative and mental workout.