by Nancy Casey
One thing for certain about today’s writing exercise: you can’t do it on an empty stomach! Today you will write from direct experience exactly what it is like to eat something.
What must you eat? Anything. A meal. A snack. Something that you like. Something you don’t like. It really doesn’t matter as long as you eat it.
It can be a favorite food, maybe some kind of treat that you like to have on hand over to holidays. It can be a completely ordinary food, something that you eat every day. It can be something that you cooked, bought, or received from a friend. The important thing is that you take a moment to eat it thoughtfully, and then write down everything that happened.
Begin by explaining what the food is. Then take a bite, chew it up carefully write down your observations. Then take another bite, and another, each time recording what happens.
A lot goes on inside your mouth when you are eating. You don’t simply “chew” for example. Try to notice what your tongue, teeth and cheeks do to make sure that the food is lined up right so that it can be chewed properly. Which parts of your tongue are the most active? How does the lump of food move around?
Pay attention to which teeth are the busiest. Do the teeth on one side work harder than on the other? Do some teeth avoid working altogether? Are certain teeth more active at different times during the “take-a-bite” and the “chewing-up” processes?
Try to notice other sensations: wet, dry, hard, soft, rough, pointed, crisp, hot, cold. The sensations you have will depend on what you are eating. Try to notice as many as you can. What smells can you smell? Are there bursts of flavor or changes in texture? What do you hear?
How do you know when to swallow? What is it that you do, exactly, as you swallow? Does it have a special sound? What parts of your mouth are most involved? What are all the things that have to happen before your mouth is empty again.
How does the eating experience change as it continues? Is a bite from the middle of a sandwich different from a bite from around the edges? Is the first bite of a donut the same as the last one?
The beginning of the end of the eating experience takes place as you put the last morsel of food in your mouth. How does “eating” finally finish? What kinds of things happen to tidy up the inside of your mouth? How long does it take before every single sensation that has to do with eating is completely gone? What is the last sensation that you feel?
Try to surprise yourself with all the things that you can notice in the process of eating one small meal or snack.
Be sure to give your work a title and write the date on it. Here is an example of what a person could write: http://planetnancy.net/writing-prompts/eat-something/
Nancy Casey has lived in rural Latah County for many years. She has taught writing classes at the Recovery Center and will return again in the spring of 2018. You can find more of her work at http://planetnancy.net/ If you would like her help with a writing project, large or small, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.