As an aspiring writer I have scoured writing websites and the blogs of my favorite authors in search of tips and inspiration. In my quest I have found everything from strict rules and unattainable goals (write ten pages per day by hand in your office with a black ballpoint pen!) to amazing drills that have inspired me to write more. That brings me to my favorite writing exercise- the free write.
If you are not familiar with the concept of freewriting, I encourage you to visit the wonderful post written by Joel Friedlander; Unleash Your Creativity Now: How to Freewrite. It details the process and some helpful hints to get you started. It all starts with a prompt, which can be written or visual, and off you go!
I would like to implement a First Friday Freewrite here on Refreshingly Riki to be posted the first Friday of each month where I might share some of my freewriting with you, and hopefully receive some of your own freewrite exercises in return! Without further ado, here is my first freewrite written with a photo as a prompt. (Remember that in freewriting grammar, sentence structure and spelling don’t matter!)
Hunger food fork…wide eyes. An empty plate. Sarcastic eyes. Relationship with food. Fat or slim? Diet or splurge? Is this all I get to eat at this meal? Will I be hungry later? There are starving people in the world. This is not enough.
Keep writing…see a relationship with food…see the sarcasm…see the thin person eating nothing. Feel shamed about eating a lot. This is a larger person being given no food. What’s the matter? Am I too fat to eat a full portion?
I’m being censored in the worst way when you lay out a diet plan for me that involves deprivation and starving tactics. Give me a full meal with some calories and protein that will get me through the day. Don’t expect me drink a Slim Fast shake and an “energy” bar and then try to rein myself in for a “sensible” dinner. How can you starve someone all day and then expect them to make a sane and responsible choice in their evening meal.
Give me food that I can stick a fork into- something that I can chew, and feel its warmth. Something that has texture. Grainy…salty…sweet…gooey…savory. Give me bread that I can tear apart and feel with my hands. Don’t give me something that I pull the wrapper of to eat. I don’t want to pop the top of a can for my meal.
Bring on the meats, with their medium-rare warmth and the scent of a garlic rub. Bring me the vegetables, smothered in butter that adds flavor and memories. I’d like food that connects me to another person or place. Something I made with my own hands or that was made for me in a loving way.
Present me with some beauty…the place setting the china, the glassware. A drink should be savored and tasted, not choked down for calorie content. I long to taste the wine, with its dry aftertaste stinging my tongue. I long for the margarita so tart that I suck my cheeks in at the mere memory of my last taste. Even a soda will do, with its sugary film coating my teeth bathed in the tiniest of bubbles.
I need the foods that fed my ancestor’s…the foods that fed their souls as well as their bellies. The foods that my family in France pored over for hours at the mid-day meal. Foods that inspired talk and memories.
What is this relationship with food that I’ve built? I want to feel good about what I eat, but also enjoy it to the fullest and share it with others. A meal is meant to nourish the body, but also the spirit. There is no spirit in an energy bar. There is no spirit in a 100 calorie pack of chips. There is spirit in the French bread and brie that I share with my grandparents on a Sunday afternoon. There is spirit in the love of cuisine and its origins.
My belly aches with the hunger of eating an energy bar and a Slim Fast shake today. What will my sensible dinner look like? Will I sit like this man at the table with the fork and a look of pure exasperation? Hopefully the meal will fill my plate and my heart with love and satisfaction. It will lift my spirit and give me hope to start another day; another day of a shake and a bar…and more willpower to have yet another sensible dinner.
I’d love to hear what you think about the freewriting process and how it has helped (or not) your writing. If you’re so inclined, please share your own freewrite response to this photo as a comment or via my contact page! If you’re up for it, I will post your freewrite as a guest post here on Refreshingly Riki!