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The Musings of a Writer: Senses

Hello from the Writer's Desk! As finals swiftly approach and stories upon essays are being pumped out, my reading has been regrettably lax. The reading of drama-filled, angst-ridden novels, that is.

Meanwhile, I've welcomed an influx of work from my peers--fiction pieces about chickens in the desert, rowdy childhoods, and fiddling playing western cowboys. In return, I have started preparing some of my own writings, which we all know is a necessary evil in the professional writing world. Interestingly a friend's work evoked this week's topic, the concept of Senses and how we're using them in the literary world.

My friend's story crafts the life of two brothers amidst war. One older, one younger--the boys must rely on each other to safely flee their home, travel across war-stricken lands, and find refuge with a relative. As the Older brother describes their journey, I assumed he was making observations based on his sight. However, it's not until the last paragraph that you realize the boy is seeing-impaired. Of course, I noticed the clever use of descriptions after my 'ah-ha' moment and second read through.

My friend's story challenged me to reconsider my own work. Also of the novels I pack on my shelves. Do they evoke more than sight? Can I smell the trash piled on the side of an urban street? Hear a character's irritating next door neighbors since he or she has forgotten thin walls are indeed a thing? Feel the touch of calloused palms? Indeed, the concept of writing with the five senses seems thoughtless and yet, I can count maybe ten of my personal work that incorporate more than sight. In turn, I challenged myself to write a piece using all five senses at least twice and as I don't post my own work enough, I'd like to share an excerpt here. This piece is called  'To Save A Life, '

Worse senior trip ever!David Taylor sighed, inching up the creaking staircase. This isn’t about you, he reminded himself for the seventh time. The stairwell reeked of dog urine and mold as he climbed higher. His hand slid over the hot rusted metal until a brown unmarked door popped into view. Exhaling, he edged closer, afraid of what lie on the other end. He felt the wind grip his cheek when he pushed open the door. Up here, the stars felt reachable. I didn’t like it! Ignoring the barrage of unwanted memories, David brought his first foot over the threshold and into the darkness.
 “Garrett!” He yelled, cupping his hands around his mouth. His voice echoed around the rooftop of the motel they were staying at for the trip. No one responded. “Garrett,” he tried once more, forcing himself to maintain his fake-concerned tone. He couldn’t understand why Dr. Greenberg recruited him of all people to help find this kid. Everyone knew he was probably off somewhere smoking pot. Then, he caught a hazy silhouette at the far right end of the roof. Drowning in black, the silhouette teetered on the ledge. 
I've posted the rest on my personal page, which is linked in our About Us. For my writers out there, do you find yourself gravitating toward a particular sense? If so, what's your favorite tip for blasting out of habit? Knowledge is my power, so educate me! As always, my TBR pile is growing by the day. Until that glorious, sacred time we call Christmas Break, I will be sitting here at my desk, typing away. 

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