Mini-Series — The Senses — Touch

Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch

Welcome back everyone.  This is the final installment of my mini-series on the five senses.  I’ve been having a great time with this and I’m happy to see you again.  I’m sincerely touched that this series has been so well received. But that’s a different kind of touch than the sense of touch.  Working the sense of touch into your writing can bring your words to life.  It helps make it relatable.  Are you ready?  Today we reach out and — Touch

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of touch is texture.  (Granted, “smooth” is a texture, but I think you know what I mean.)  Texture is pleasing to my eye.  If I decorate a room or put together an outfit, I like to have elements with texture.  Descriptions of a tactile experience can enhance your writing.  Place your hand on your sleeve and think about how you would describe what your sense of touch tells you.

The sense of touch doesn’t have to come as something that your character literally reaches out to touch.  It can include elements that come into contact with us, like fog or sunlight.

Hand-TouchAs I searched through the body of my work to find an example to share with you, I became painfully aware of two things.  Applesauce!  First – I have a lot of stories awaiting the final touches that I’d love to publish.  If only I had time for those touches. (Yes, I know — not the right kind of touch, but I can’t help myself.)

Second – I really need practice working the sense of touch into my writing!  I’m sure there must be something somewhere in all those files; in all those thousands and thousands of words… 

Okay, this isn’t a good example of using the sense of touch but here’s a tidbit anyway.  Beira the Crone is one of the new characters in Atonement in Bloom.  Lilith the cat meets her early in the story.  (Which I hope to someday finish…)

Lilith looked apprehensively toward the east, where sharp eyes could discern the tip of the eastern gate of Sunhold.

“No, little heart.  That protector, the Guardian of the Gate of the East Winds, is not present.  But he would not care to keep me out, even were he here.  I’m only Beira the Crone.  Some call me Cailleach Bheur, but Beira will do nicely in this place,” she said running her pale bluish hand down the silky fur of the cat’s back.

I’m curious to know your reactions to this snippet.  When Beira touches the cat, I describe the fur’s silky texture.  Does that tiny detail lead you to think one way or the other of Beira?  Nah… Like I said, it’s not a good example.  Without further ado, here’s your writing prompt.

Your Turn!

Okay, now it’s your turn.  This image of a luxury passenger train of yesteryear could relate to many types of writing, not just fiction.  So as before, gaze at this image.  Really focus and put yourself into it.  Put your suitcase away.  Adjust the window shade.  Sit down on the neatly made bed.  Turn on the lamp.  Pour some water into the glass.  Now describe something that involves your sense of touch.

Orient Express Bed

What did you touch?   Leave a comment with just a few words about your sense of touch, based on this photo.

Open Invitation:  If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything according to the sense featured today, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thank you from my heart for “coming out to play” during these five posts.  I’ve had a great time doing this, so I hope you have as well.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Mini-Series — The Senses — Taste

Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch

Welcome back to my mini-series on the five senses.  Last weekend I interrupted this series by posting a Valentine’s story.  The previous installment of this series was about the sense of smell, and I was glad everyone came out to sniff around! (Okay… I’ll try to control myself with the play on words.)  Now for the next-to-last installment of this series — Taste

Purple mouth

Think about the many different ways the sense of taste could be used to enhance your writing.  It doesn’t have to be the taste of food or drink. Consider other ways that taste could come into play. I had a friend with no sense of smell.  She said she could taste the air when it carried a strong odor.  Concentrating on that, I found she was right! My point is that taste need not be limited to foods.

For my example of taste I’m using one of the “interactive” serials I’ve provided here at this blog. Click the button at the top of the page if you want to know more about this serial.  This tidbit is from episode-6 of A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients, Cookbook-2.  All the episodes are together and in chronological order on the serial homepage.

This serial is a culinary mystery-fantasy set in the 1920s. It’s narrated by Paisley Idelle Peabody, better known as Pip.  In this tidbit Pip is working in her grandmother’s vegetable garden.  Describing Pip’s actions, or the smell of the air is fine. However, causing the reader to think about a taste adds fullness to the scene.

Early Lucille 2

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

A scent of mint was on the breeze and I inhaled with pleasure.  I sat on the ground in Granny Fanny’s garden wiping dirt from a turnip and an interesting idea popped into my head.  “I wonder how turnips would taste cooked with some mint,” I pondered aloud. 

Cinnamon Bun, Granny’s Flemish Giant rabbit, looked at me quizzically and twitched his dirty nose.  I could have offered the huge bunny a turnip, but he clearly enjoyed digging up his own.  Just as we both went back to the dirt, a loud noise cracked the air.  I jumped half out of my skin, and Cinnamon Bun dashed to the security of his hutch.

The loud sound was followed by the beep-beep of a horn.  I looked down toward the road and saw a Dodge Roadster.  A moment later Andy Avis jumped out and hurried to the back yard, where I sat in the vegetable garden.

***

As many of you know, the serial stories are spontaneous and unedited. Looking back I could have improved this scene by having the odor of the exhaust from the car’s backfire overlay the tastes that were in Pip’s mind.  Or I might have brought out something about  the garden soil for one of the other senses.  I’m sure you get the idea.

Since this installment is about taste, I’m adding a bonus.  Click on over to A Pug in the Kitchen for this delicious offering from Suzanne.  Also, congrats to Suzanne on her new furry family member.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup with Wilted Greens and Bacon

Creamy Turnip soup.jpg

Your Turn!

Hey! Come back!  Now it’s your turn.  A photo of an old truck and gas station might seem like an odd choice for an exercise about the sense of taste, but challenging your senses is the point.  Look closely at the image below — put yourself into the picture.   It’s a brisk day.  You were out on the road and stopped at the old gas station to fill-up.  You may or may not be the person driving the red truck.  Or perhaps you are not a patron — maybe you work there, or live across the street. I’m sure a scene is in your mind at this point.  Now add fullness to it by mentioning a taste.

Red Truck Gas Vintage

What did you taste?   Leave a comment with just a few words about a taste this photo brought to your mind.

Open Invitation:  If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything according to the sense featured today, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thanks for visiting.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

A Tricky Little Valentine

Cowgirl valentineHello everyone.  Thanks for coming back.  During the past four weeks we’ve all been playing with my mini-series on the five senses.  However, since Valentine’s Day is this weekend I decided to write a short story for the occasion.  Next weekend I’ll be back with the fifth and final part of the mini-series.

If you know me at all, then you are not expecting a romance, certainly not a typical one anyway.  This is an odd little story I jotted down on impulse, but I hope you’ll enjoy it.

The narrator made one previous appearance here at Teagan’s Books in a short story called Kokopelli’s Daughter.  It’s just a little flight of fancy.

Kokopelli’s Daughter and Valentine’s Day

Moments after sleep blanketed my tired mind, my eyelids sprang open.  I shot out of the bed and ran toward the kitchen in a state near panic.  As I skidded around the corner I flipped on the light switch.  I stumbled to a stop at the calendar that hung beside the refrigerator.  A moan escaped my lips when I saw the date — February 13th, but only for a couple more hours.

How could I have forgotten?  Being Kokopelli’s daughter I unconsciously exert a unique magic on Valentine’s Day.  It’s a very tricky sort of magic too.  My father is a music spirit, but also the eternal trickster.  The magic of that genealogy is a dirty trick forever played on unsuspecting people through me.  The joke is also on me as often as everyone else.  It’s uncontrollable, and it gets stronger and stranger each year.1955 February Valentine calendar

The picture on the calendar should have been a good enough reminder.  A bewildered boy holding one heart-shaped box of candy, greeted by two identical girls — it was a painful reminder of one year’s disastrous Valentine’s Day.  That year desires doubled on one side of a couple, but were cut in half on the other.  I was surrounded by angry twosomes… not to mention my own overly amorous date.

Another year I happened to be in Japan on Valentine’s Day.  I had no idea the gender roles for were reversed there in that women bought chocolates for men.  The magic that surrounded me on that day wreaked havoc, and not just roles, but men and women themselves were reversed for miles around me.

After that year I made a point of taking myself to some remote corner of the world on Valentine’s Day.  Yet somehow the date had escaped me.  The best I could do would be to simply get as far away from civilization as I could manage in the short time remaining before midnight.

I jumped into a pair of jeans and threw on a leather jacket.  I ran out of my “painted lady” Victorian home on Haight Ashbury.  I hurried down the stairs and vaulted into my yellow 1928 M-Type MG Midget.1929 MType MG Midget

I headed the Midget up the coast to Highway 101.  Even if I “helped” the car travel faster, I couldn’t get far enough away before midnight.  However, at least humanity would only be on one side of me.  The ocean would be on the other.

When the clock struck twelve, I felt it deep inside without even looking at my watch.  I pulled the MG off the highway and walked down to a deserted beach.  Sitting down on the sand, I gazed up at the cloudless sky.  With a groan I saw that fate conspired with magic to make things worse.  The moon was full.  There were formations on the face of the moon that some people referred to as the “rabbit moon.”  However, I knew the truth of that.  The shape on the moon was not a rabbit, but Kokopelli!

Vintage Rabbits MoonI glared at the luminous orb.  Soft chuckling emanated from the heavens in return to my spiteful stare.  Then the trickster appeared beside me.

“Do you know, hija,” my father began.  “It was the twisted magic of this night that brought your mother to me.”

I answered with a silent gaze, waiting for him to continue.  I thought of my mother, Themis, the Greek goddess of Justice.  The odd mix of my parents gave me constantly warring impulses.  Because of Themis I was forever compelled to see justice done.  Yet my nature was also to be a trickster like Kokopelli.

“Play for me, hija.  Play upon the beautiful flute your mother gave you,” he urged offering me the flute I had left at home.

“You play far better than I could ever hope to play.  If you want music, then play for yourself,” I said irritated.  I turned my head toward the moon which was suddenly and suspiciously devoid of “rabbit” like formations and shadows.  Abruptly his duplicitous intent sprang with clarity to my mind.  “You would have me bring her to you!  Themis would never forgive me,” I admonished my father.

“If you play for me,” he urged purely devious.  “I will mix my greater magic with your accident riddled, enchanted emanations.  You could have a Valentine’s Day the likes of which mortals can only dream,” he pressed and then smirked when he saw the sharp expression on my face.  “And by dream I do not mean nightmares.  How hurtful that my daughter would think such of me,” he added with such a preposterous pout that I rolled my eyes.Kokopelli

“No?” he asked again proffering my multi-colored flute.

My answer was a loud snort.  Kokopelli began to play the flute himself.  He danced slowly on the beach as he played.  Fish began to summersault out of the ocean, flipping seafoam into moonlight glittered heart shapes before they splashed back into the sea.

I felt movement at my side.  Turning, I was stunned to see my mother beside me.  Themis smiled at me gently, but fire smoldered in her eyes when she turned toward my father.

“Just one dance,” she whispered.  “Just this once.”

Kokopelli and Themis danced.  The flute appeared on the sand beside me.  Though it was untouched, the music continued.  I knew their dance would soon progress to movements no one wanted to see their parents make.

I strolled down the beach and out onto a jetty.  I heard the loud noise of something large as it slapped the water.  A great fishtail with scales shimmering in the moonlight, arced down to again slap the water.

Music from my magically played flute wafted to my ears.  I rolled up the legs of my jeans and strolled into the ocean.  Hundreds of tiny fish jumped into the air, also making heart shapes in the reflected light of the full moon.

heartI continued to walk and soon the water was hip-deep.  Then the large shimmering tail slapped the surface again.  A merman beckoned to me playfully.  I looked back down the coast and saw that Kokopelli and Themis still danced.

The magic that was part of me twisted fitfully on Valentine’s Day, but my father’s enchantment was holding things in place, at least for that span of time.  So I decided to seize the moment.

As I took the merman’s hand the tune of the flute trilled.

 

The End.

***

I hope you’ll come back next time for the fifth and final installment of the mini-series on the senses.

Mega hugs!

Teagan

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Mini Series — The Senses — Smell

Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, TouchNose-Smell

Welcome back to my mini-series on the five senses.  This time we’re working with Smell.  I hope today’s post doesn’t turn out to be a stinker.  (Okay… sorry. You know I can’t resist a play on words.)

I meant for this installment to be extremely lighthearted, and a scene from Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers quickly came to mind.  Descriptive as it may be, it doesn’t really exemplify the point I wanted to make, but for fun, here’s the tidbit from Episode 20 anyway.  In this snippet, Felicity, the woman in trousers, is tipsy from the physical reaction Absinthe (the Green Fairy) had when he was abruptly frightened.

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

It was no accident, I thought to myself, that the Green Fairy looked like a tiny green skunk, albeit one with gossamer wings.  Much like a frightened skunk could spray a noxious odor from special anal glands, Absinthe produced a vapor that was the equivalent of highly concentrated absinthe liquor; an already potent potable in its pure form.  That such a petite personage could produce so powerful a poot was positivelyOh my, what a lot of P words, I thought.  Perhaps I’m not fully sober.  I’m glad I kept that ramble to myself.

“Felicity,” Cornelis said raising one bushy blonde eyebrow.  “You did say that out loud darling,” he added and I cleared my throat, looking around suspiciously.

As I mentioned, that tidbit just didn’t illustrate the kind of reader-reaction I had in mind. Then, in looking through my work for another comical scene to share, I came across a snippet of suspense that fit the bill for “Smell” perfectly.  It doesn’t mention a variety of odors, or go into great detail describing them — but that is my point.Clothespin on Nose

Smell is a powerful sense.  The memory of an odor or aroma, whether good or bad, can stay with us for a lifetime.  Sometimes the mere mention of a smell is evocative enough to set the entire stage, with very little added description.  I hope I did that with this snippet.

This example for smell comes from the second interactive serial I published here, Murder at the Bijou: Three Ingredients, Cookbook-1.  This tidbit is from Episode-13 of the serial.  Once again the young flapper, Pip, is the narrator of this Roaring Twenties tale.  She rushed to the aid of her “crush” and came upon a  terrible scene.

***

1920s PhotoPlay

I don’t remember getting out of the Model-T.  I don’t remember Granny Fanny shouting the words “No, Pip.  Don’t look!”  I don’t remember the young policeman taking my arm to hold me back.  And I don’t remember pulling free of his grasp to approach the tall bloody form stretched out on the ground with a hat covering his face.  All I remember is smelling the coppery odor of blood, and seeing the fedora that belonged to Detective Dabney Daniels covering the face.

The hat was still rumpled from where Dabney crushed it in his hands when he told Granny and me about Marshal Moses Myrick being ambushed.  The young copper caught my arm again, more firmly that time.  Granny had my other arm.  “I have to…” was all I could manage to say.

A Ford that vaguely resembled the one belonging to the marshal sat with steam coming from the radiator.  Its front tires were flat, the windshield shattered.  The metal was so riddled with bullet holes that it hardly looked like the same car.Speakeasy_Stories-July

Several pigeons sat on the roof of a small building, looking on curiously.  I noticed the birds in a dazed sort of way.  They fluttered off as two more police cars roared up to the place, sirens blaring.  But I barely saw or heard the commotion.

“Miss, please.  You don’t want to look.  It wouldn’t help you!” the young officer said, seeming almost frantic to find the right words.  I guessed that this kind of scene was as new to him as it was to me.  As I tried to pull away from his grasp the young man spoke in a horrified strangle of a voice, “His face is a mess!”

Granny took in a sharp breath.  She froze next to me.  She tilted her head the way she did when she was unraveling a puzzle of one kind or another.  Then her shoulders relaxed minutely.  She was saying something but I wasn’t listening.  Finally a sharp “Paisley Idelle!” pierced the fog of my overwhelmed mind.

“It’s not Dabney!” she said in a tone that suggested she had already said the same thing three times.  Three was sort of a magic number with Granny.  She’d repeat herself, but if she had to say something a third time… well, she didn’t appreciate it.

***

young Lucy blue

Young Lucille Ball

I hope my mention of the “coppery odor of blood” woke up your nose and caused you to smell other things in the scene. Perhaps engine oil leaking; a hot odor from the newly bullet riddled car, steam from the radiator…  It did that for me when I wrote that passage, so I hope I successfully conveyed it to you. If I fell short, well… both of these snippets were from spontaneous, unedited “pantser” stories. 

Your Turn!

Look at the image below.  What do you smell?  This image is from an unidentified spot in New York City. The characters in your (pretend) story are going to spend some time on this street.  Use the sense of smell to bring the story to life. The street is nearly deserted, perhaps that indicates a time of day. There are a few trees.  Many of the windows are barred.  There are fire escapes, window-unit air conditioners, a manhole cover.  There is sunlight down at the street corner, but it either has left, or has yet to reach our street.  Put yourself into this image.  Nose around with your imagination.  Now tell me what you smell.

NYC empty street

What did you smell?   

Open Invitation:  If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything according to the sense featured today, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thanks for visiting.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.