Thanks to everyone brave enough to enter my sensuous writing contest, which ended a week ago tonight. It takes courage to post a piece of writing and to have it examined by all who read it. I appreciate the work of every single one of you, and found delightful writing in each.
I was swept away by evocative images from all over the world, including: the pudding-like consistency of ricotta, a spoon that smelled like the cedars of Lebanon, plump twists of pasta, rhythmic plunges and dips of a paddle, pebble-sized pieces of pork fat, almond meal as fine as sand, a pillow of hot dough burning through paper, the first burst of peach juice, a jade fringe of lettuce, chai in a fragile clay cup, soup the color of Georgia O’Keefe’s desert…I could go on and on, but why not read the samples yourself and find your own favorites?
To select the winner, I printed out the writing samples and highlighted adjectives, words or phrases that struck me as sensuous. Then I counted up how many terms I highlighted in each sample, and determined the sample with the most color marks.
The winner was the piece by Garrett McCord of Vanilla Garlic. Here it is, with my highlighted words and phrases:
I think something was wrong with me as a child. I detested most breakfast cereal, the sugary kind advertised on Saturday mornings right after a cliffhanging episodes of Power Rangers or Ninja Turtles. I found the taste too cloyingly sweet and the epileptic colors unappealing (though I did have a secret love of Captain Crunch, my one exception). Whereas I happily ate Raisin Bran with bananas my brother adored Corn Pops. It wasn’t for their taste but their value as a play thing which was the way he evaluated the potential enjoyment of any food. Corn Pops were one of his favorites; their saccharine sheen made them stick to his skin with ease, so in the morning the family would be entertained by the terror of the pop-marked space creature, and less so when he shot them out of his nose onto the table with enough force that they would explode in a yellow puff, the airy crack echoing in the tile kitchen.
I put the sensuous writing parts I liked in color so you could see them. Notice his use of writing technique such as
- innovative, even downright strange, adjectives (epileptic, saccarine)
- power verbs (shot, explode, crack echoing)
- use of metaphor (calling his brother a space creature)
- word play (pop-marked instead of pock-marked)
- sense of humor (I don’t need to explain that, do I?).
Garrett wins an hour of my consulting time. Congratulations!
And again, my gratitude to everyone who entered. Readers, if there is a phrase or word in the samples that delighted you, please write in.