I tend to be blunt in my writing. I never really use a lot flowery language, and my sentences tend to be. Short. It’s because I’m not fond of overblown language, but I love it when a writer says something in a unique way—like Stephen Crane, who wrote:  
A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

There is not one magnified word in that poem, but I’ve loved it for years. It’s impact is there in the simplicity of the language.

This week I’ve been thinking more about writing exercises that help me explore my creativity so I can begin writing about things in a different way. To do this well, I feel like I need to engage all my senses. Today I thought about our senses of smell and how they are often ignored in our writing, so I’ll share one memory with you….

Once a week, my mother would bake bread—a process that started with whole grains of wheat she’d grind into flour in a wheat grinder that looked like it was from the ‘20s. I remember the smell of freshly ground wheat and I remember watching her as she blended the ingredients together in a bowl, first using a wooden spoon and then using her fists. I watched her vent a lot of her frustrations on that dough, pounding it into submission in the name of dinner. The smell morphed to a less pleasant one as the yeast activated and made the dough swell. When the dough had risen to a brown mound in her giant silver bowl, she plucked chunks of dough out, shaped little bits into loafs and placed them in dark little loaf pans drenched in butter. The bread was amazing, but the leftover dough was made into something even more fantastic like cinnamon rolls or scones.

Enter Cynthia, home from a hard day at junior high school in Texas, worn from the classes, the walking across campus, the freakishly traumatic bus ride home. As I swung the door open, the smell would hit me like a wall of welcome home. Mom would barely notice that I was there half the time—elbow-deep in flour and dough—but I felt warm and I felt loved.

Next time, maybe I’ll write about the eating disorder caused by this feeling….