07 Jul

Writing Through the Senses: Touch

Posted in Writing Exercises, Writing Through The Senses

Hello again.  I hope you all had a good week.  Today we’ll be talking about touch and how ordinary objects can become extraordinary when described through this sense.

First a poem by Wallace Stevens:  Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Isn’t it lovely how such simple images can take an ordinary thing like a blackbird and make it into something so beautiful?  Which is your favorite of the thirteen?  Mine is:


He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

Ordinary Objects Exercise:  Take an ordinary object from your desk (a pencil or pen, paper clip, eraser, etc.) and close your eyes.  Study it with your eyes closed, trying not to focus on what you know the object is, but on how the object feels.

After memorizing the object for a few minutes, set it aside and write a short paragraph or two describing the object but using only the things you memorized through your sense of touch.  You can use metaphors and similes but try not to use any of the other senses.  Note how the sense of touch transforms the object into something new and different.


Comments on this post

  1. Merrilee says:

    Wow, that is an awesome poem!And very cool exercise. Will have to play with this one 🙂

    1. Julie Musil says:

      This is a great exercise! Sometimes I forget to do simple things like this.

      1. Sonia says:

        This is a great way to learn to look at things from a different perspective, too. It reminds me of the story of the five blind mice running up and down the elephant or this great exhibit, "Dialog in the Dark," that I saw a few months ago–both of which highlight the importance of using your senses.

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