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Kathleen Flinn Writing Exercise IFBC 2010

I love Kathleen Flinn, I finally introduced myself to her because I was too chicken at last year’s IFBC.  I’ve mentioned how much I love her book “The Sharper Your Knife the Less you Cry” and she’s just as enjoyable as a speaker as she is as a writer.  Even better, she’s working to create social change by empowering low income families to cook and eat healthy.  Sound familiar?  I’m really looking forward to talking to her in the near future about the work she’s doing.

Today rather than speaking on her experience, she put us through a writing exercise that challenged us to use each sense individually.  I love writing exercises because I feel that they help me realize my voice more and more.  This exercise made me feel that my voice is that of someone with ADD.

I have a strong memory and so often associate new experiences with something I’ve already experienced.  I can choose to evaluate something independently, but my natural reaction is to compare it to a previous experience.  SO it makes sense that as I write about something my mind bounces all over the place comparing it to other things.  Here are my results of the writing exercise.

Session 3 Writing with all Five Senses

Write about a lemon to someone who has never seen it w/out using the word lemon.


As I look at the cheerful, yellow globe resting on the table, I can’t help but think that this fruit has an outie for a belly button!  It reminds me of when I was in elementary school and  first learned about outies, feeling jealous that I didn’t have one.  With age and maturity I now fully appreciate my own belly button and hope this little citrus fellow does too.


Squeezing the dimpled fruit offers a slight give that bounces back, but I’m afraid to squeeze much harder.  It’s like the kittens I had as a toddler when mom told me “I know they’re soft but don’t squeeze too hard or you’ll hurt them!”  When I look at the slices my caution is validated.  Inside the spongy skin are thousands of tiny membranes filled with a miniscule amount of juice.  Just the slightest pressure bursts the membrane and has the unfortunate consequence of unleashing the juice all over my fingers instead of into my mouth.


Thwock!!  Thwock!! Thwock!!  Is that how they make the sound for Law Order?  I’ve always wondered how they did that.  As the sound gets faster like a woodpecker slamming his beak into a tree foraging for creepy crawlies, I begin to wince waiting for the sound of a scream.  Oh wait, she’s a professional.  Maybe I should take her knife skills class!


One whiff and the scent travels to the back of my sinuses, clearing them out like a gentle breeze wafting away storm clouds.  It travels down my throat to the back of my tongue and rests there so strongly I can taste it, even though I never even parted my lips.  The more I smell it the more I want to actually taste it.  Would it be so wrong to eat one?  As long as I don’t tweet about it, no one has to know!


The outer rind is bitter and I suddenly wonder if the people who did the slicing used the porta potties with or without sinks and handsoap.  Then the sweet juice washes over my tongue and takes every concern along with it.  I’ve never found this taste sour, other than the reflexive clenching of the muscles at the back of jaw.  In fact I know I was barely walking by the time I started squeezing the juice into my mouth straight out of the bottle.  Of course it’s so much better fresh, and I have a feeling that each and every piece will be sucked dry by the end of this session!

Still have some fantastic sessions left and am so glad I attended IFBC this year.

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5 thoughts on “Kathleen Flinn Writing Exercise IFBC 2010”

  1. You guys are sweet! Abigail I never took writing in college but I loved the exercises we did in high school. Jennifer I look forward to meeting you!


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