In the last decade, I’ve read lots of advice on how to write better. Some of these craft articles and books share the unrealistic. (Looking at you, Stephen King. Sure, I’ll just write “ten pages [every single] day, which amounts to 2,000 words. That’s 180,000 words over a three-month span.”) I prefer practical and oft-repeated wisdom, such as this nugget for writers to improve their craft: use sensory writing.
When we tap into the five senses, we enrich our writing landscape regardless of form. In our poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, we often remember to write about what we see. Yet the other senses — hear, touch, taste, and smell — also inject a “right here, right now” presence for readers.
There is some great sensory writing in this issue. When proofreading, I noticed two writers used “clickety-clack,” so I wanted to be sure that sound was spelled correctly (according to the Merriam-Webster.com dictionary). Let me present the clickety-clacks as well as touch, taste, and smell examples:
“The door swung in, and she clickety-clacked into the room.” — from Kait Leonard‘s story, “Trashy Girl”
“Clackety-clack, clack clack, clackety-clack. You clatter like a cajón following my flamenco fingers /” — from Navilan‘s prose poem, “Ergomaniac”
“I will never forget the feeling of hot asphalt baking my belly through my thin T-shirt, gritty pebbles sticking to my sweaty little palms, my mind running wild as I lay face down in the heat imagining the scenario around me.” — from Nikki Gordon‘s personal essay, “Generation to Generation: Horror and Healing along the 10 Freeway”
“We pass [a half-empty jug of Tyrolia] around, each take a swig, and wash down its bitterness with Cherry 7Up.” — from Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera‘s short story, “We Watch”
“Mauricio had just poured me a gin and tonic when someone passing brushed against my back, someone with a sweet scent, like a gardenia.” — from Dave Gamboa‘s story, “The Girl in the Rain”
I invite you to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell all of the Fall 2022 Inlandia: A Literary Journey issue. May the sensory offerings nourish your own creative endeavors.
Erin Michaela Sweeney, managing editor