28 Jul

Writing Through the Senses Contest Winner!

Posted in Writing Through The Senses

This is it: the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  Using a super-secret, super-scientific method, we have a Writing Through the Senses contest winner!

And the winner is…


*fumbles with envelope*

*drops envelope on the floor*

*more drumroll*

*clears throat*

And the winner is…

Thank you to everyone who participated and followed my Writing Through the Senses adventures.

Sonia, please email me your information so I can send you your prize!


27 Jul

A Few Random Thoughts

Posted in Blog, DIY MFA, Writing Through The Senses

Hello!  I have so much to tell you all that I hardly know where to start.  You know when you have a bazillion ideas for blog posts and not enough days to write them so you try to cram it all into one post?  That’s this post right here.

That said, I’ve decided not to fight the random today and share all my crazy thoughts with you all at once.

Random Thought #1:  I am sorry to say I will be leaving the blogosphere for a short vacation starting the second week in August because… I’m going to Ireland.  SQUEE!  For years I’ve had visions of frolicking in verdant fields, stocking up on tons of wool and maybe even hugging a sheep.  Still, it means fourteen days of limited internet.  I’m thinking of trying to sneak my laptop with me so I can get my internet fix, but I don’t want my hubby to go all gregzilla on me.  So, the way I’ll leave it is this: if I can post while I’m away, I’ll post, but if I can’t you’ll know it’s because I’m getting my knit on.

Random Thought #2: DIY MFA
As most of you already know, I’ve become intrigued (READ: obsessed) with this idea of a Do-It-Yourself MFA.  I’ve since come up with this crazy (READ: utterly insane) idea of doing a month-long blog extravaganza on this topic.  I’ll be challenging myself to post an article on this topic every day for a month, with the idea that by the end of it, I should have touched on all facets of the DIY MFA.

September is the month when most people start back at at school so it seems fitting that iggi U should open it’s (virtual doors) at that time.  The idea is to create a space where writers can find as much information on this topic as possible in one place so that they may put together a program of study that fits their own writing needs.  The plan: I’ll be posting every day on some aspect of the DIY MFA through September, the idea being that by the end of the month, you should have all the info you need to put together your own personalized writing plan.

My question for you all is this: is this idea completely crazy?  Is this topic something you’d be interested in hearing more about?

Random Thought #3:  Last, but certainly not least, is a quick reminder.  The Writing Through the Senses challenge ends tonight at 11:59pm EST.  If you’re doing the challenge, please check to make sure I’ve got you on my list so you’ll be included in the contest.  And don’t forget to read the Writing Through the Senses posts and give your comments.  Thank you to everyone who has participated!  I’ll be posting the winner tomorrow.


21 Jul

Writing Through the Senses: Smell

Posted in Writing Exercises, Writing Through The Senses

Ah, the ever elusive sense of smell.  While this may be the most difficult of the senses for writers to incorporate in their work, it is no less important than the others.

Fun Fact: did you know that while receptors for all the other senses connect to the main part of the brain (the cortext), the olfactory receptors are different?  In fact, one part of the olfactory system connects via the amygdala, which is one of the parts of the brain that deals with memory.

My theory is that this is why smells hold such powerful, vivid memories for us.  Who can mistake the smell of birthday candles as they’re being blown out.  Or what about that crisp smell the air gets right before a big snow?

Haven’t you ever been somewhere and smelled something that transported you to a whole other time and place?  The other day I was walking down the street and something smelled dry and still, like airport air that has that musty travel smell to it.  In instantly got this pang of memory of a time when I was stranded in an airport in Brazil for an entire day, not knowing whether or not my flight would be allowed to leave.

The truth is, part of the reason why scents are so difficult for writers is that there are very few “smell words” in our vocabulary.  We have lots of words for sounds: loud, soft, brassy, whisper.  There are also plenty of words for touch (soft, smooth, rough) and taste (sweet, salty, bitter, sour).  And don’t even get me started on sight; aside from a plethora of adjectives, we also have the vocabulary of colors at our disposal.

But for smell there’s hardly any.  Instead, we’ll use similes and metaphors to say “that smells like movie theater popcorn” or “that smell is suffocating.”  The only smell word I can think of is “pungent” and even then, it can refer to taste as well as smell.  In fact, most words we use for smells have been appropriated from one of the other senses (like saying something smells sweet or sharp).

Because smells are linked so strongly to objects or places, it is no surprise that smell should be so closely tied to memory as well.  That’s where this week’s exercise comes in.

Writing Exercise: Scent of a Memory
Follow each of the steps and don’t proceed to the next one until you have finished the current step.

  1. Think of a scent you love.  Write it down (3 words or fewer).
  2. Describe this scent.
  3. Is there a place you associate with this scent?  What is the significance of this place?
  4. Is there a person associated with this scent?  What is this person’s relationship to you?
  5. Why does this scent remind you of this person or place?
  6. Write down a memory of this person/place.
  7. Last question: what color is this scent?

Now write a short poem or prose piece about this scent and the memory it evokes.

Here ends our foray into Writing Through the Senses.  It’s not to late too late to join the challenge so sign up by clicking on the above link and read all the Writing Through the Senses posts.  I’ll be drawing the winner and announcing the results next week!


20 Jul

Writing Through the Senses Challenge: Reminder

Posted in Writing Through The Senses

Tomorrow is the last day of Writing Through the Senses.  I can’t believe how quickly the last five weeks have gone.  Before I start waxing nostalgic I’d better get on with the purpose of this post and that is to remind you all of the Writing Through the Senses Challenge.

Here’s a reminder of the challenge rules:

  1. Post a comment to this post so I know you’re participating.  (If you’re on the list below, I already know you’re doing the challenge so you can skip this step.)
  2. Post a link on your blog, if you have one (optional, but you’ll get an extra contest entry).  Please leave a link so I know you posted.  Contestants who’ve already posted links will have a + next to their name.
  3. Read the Writing Through the Senses posts and post an on-topic comment.  For your convenience, I’ve included a link to all the posts below.

Prize:  One bright, shiny and new Moleskine notebook and a few surprise goodies.

Right now I have the following people as challenge contestants, but it’s not too late to join! 

  • Ghenet +
  • Michelle Davidson Argyle
  • salarsen +
  • Julie Musil
  • sonia

 If I’m missing anyone or didn’t give you credit for posting on your blog, please let me know and I’ll correct it!  Thankees!

Writing Through the Senses Posts

Taste Part 1 and Taste Part 2

Please note: Since there are two parts to the Taste post, you don’t need to comment on both.

The Challenge is open until 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, July 27.
On Wednesday, July 28 I’ll pick the lucky winner and announce it here.

*Updated to add “Smell” link.


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