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Dried Fruit - A Writing Exercise

I tell my students to close their eyes. I dim the lights, I place a piece of dried fruit in front of one, and I tell them, "Now open your eyes and spend five minutes experiencing the object in front of you." When the five minutes are up, I turn the lights back up and say, "Now write about it."

I learned this exercise from Eilish Nagle in a writing workshop where she presented us each with a golden raisin. You can use any dried fruit. I've found dried figs to be particularly evocative. And sometimes I do it with Sea Salt and Vinegar potato chips.

You can write a poem, a prose piece, a rant, a story, a description. These pieces, because they're so based in the sensory, are usually wonderful to hear.

Here's the one I did in Eilish's workshop....

On Eating a Golden Raisin

I approach this raisin with fear. I don't like this sweetness with a bitter bite behind, desiccated corpse of a globed, yellow grape. Once my heart dried and shriveled like this, a golden ruin. Years of fresh water to heal and plump it out again.

Do not force this sweetness on me. It carries the scent of the man who plucked this cluster from the vine. I taste him on its skin -- sweat under hot sun, dusty weather.

Felled by a raisin. The taste still rolling back, echoing to my ears. The man who plucked this grape, still on its skin. The man who shriveled my heart, still in my heart.


9 Comment count
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Hi Erika. Great exercise.

Hi Erika. Great exercise. I'm not usually that into raisins, but now I want one.

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I hate raisins...

.. but you might have gathered that from what I came up with, Michelle...

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I have a fig poem myself, I wrote a few years ago


Hear the sad story of Lenny McBiggs

He ate fifteen hundred and twenty-five figs

He ran to the throne, sat down on the socket

While giving a groan, he took off like a rocket,

There lacked enough T.P. in town to absorb it,

As Lenny McBiggs shot clear into orbit,

So now, when I think of poor little Lenny,

If I'm offered figs, I never have ANY!


The end



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why dried?

Wouldn't this work with fresh fruit, too? (I'm thinking of Gayle Brandeis' strawberries)

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Of course!

You can do it with anything. I like dried fruit for classes because it's portable, less messy -- plus includes the element of Time.

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Win one for the Gipper!


Dried fruit, be damned! Time is short, but you can still pull this one out. Quick! Post a dozen nude photos of yourself on your blog.

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Ericka, we love u! U will

Ericka, we love u! U will win :)

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Thank you for your support,

Thank you for your support, Emily!

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raisins and child bearing

To prepare for Angie's giving birth (to Charlie), we took a private Mindful Birthing class, and one of the exercises was contemplating a raisin. When you look really closely and thoroughly at a raisin, it is quite amazing. A mountainous terrain . . .

When I talked to our teacher about how I was reading more than I'd ever read in my life while endlessly nursing Leo, who doubled his weight in the first two months of life (to 16 lbs!), our teacher told me, "Spend more time studying him and less time reading. He is your raisin."

Leo and Charlie are indeed my raisins, but so are the books I read, and, I guess, the books I write.

So, putting mindfulness aside, did you win? I hope so!!