Cooking Up Details
This is the eleventh installment of The Curious Creative, weekly 10-minute writing exercises for busy individuals interested in exploring their creativity. For the complete rationale, click here.
Natalie Goldberg, in her classic book of advice for writers, Writing Down the Bones, wrote that “life is so rich, if you can write down the real details of the way things were and are, you hardly need anything else.”
Good writers are excellent observers. With their eyes, their ears, their taste buds, their noses, good writers pay attention to the details around them. For this week’s exercise, you will practice noticing details while doing an everyday task- cooking.
- Pick a meal this week where you have an extra 10 minutes to spare while you prepare it. Don’t pick an extravagant meal, or even a new recipe to conquer. Just pick a time when you need to cook an everyday meal for yourself or your family on an ordinary day. Before you begin, put a piece of paper and pen on the counter next to you.
- Begin preparing the meal, but follow this rule as you go: Every time you touch something new, for example, take a tomato out of the fridge, pause to observe it through any of your senses. Write down a word or phrase about something you noticed. It can be how it looks, feels in your hand, smells, etc. Continue preparing the meal this way until you are finished.
- When you are ready to eat, sit down with your food and read your list of observations.
Did the process awaken your senses? Did you feel more aware, centered, or present as you cooked? Did you unearth any beautiful or interesting details while doing something so ordinary?
- If you want to take this writing exercise further, reorganize your observations into a poem, or choose the most interesting detail as a prompt from which to begin writing a story.
To encourage each other and grow a community of Curious Creatives, sign in from a google account so you can share your creation in the comment boxes below. Also, if you subscribe to this blog (submit your email address in the "Follow this Site by Email" box to the right), you will get an email update whenever a new exercise is added. Thanks for playing!