The Slice of Life Challenge has ended, but my daily writing practice will continue, and it will be richer as a result of my fellow slicers.
The Slice of Life Challenge has shown me that the universal is in the details.
I've heard it before, and somewhere deep inside my brain, I know it.
But knowing something and feeling something is a very different experience.
So which three posts have stuck in my mind, and what details glued them there? Well, one post made me taste something, another post made me feel something, and the final post made me visualize something.
Let's start with Fran Haley's post, "Zest." One could write a whole post about all the wonderful writing techniques in this lovely slice, such as what a sweet treat it is when a writer plays with all the multiple meanings of a word. But, I digress. The detail that stuck with me was the lemon rind and juice in the ice cream.
Well, when my sons were in elementary school, I made strawberry ice cream. The recipe called for lemon juice and lemon rind. It might have been delicious if I would have added sugar. But, I didn't. I don't eat sugar and I thought the lactose in the cream would make the ice cream sweet enough.
Over a decade later, I could picture each of their puckered faces in my mind. But if Fran hadn't included those zesty details, the memory would have remained buried in some dark recess in my mind.
Thanks, Fran, for making that day a fresh-squeezed memory for me.
Sigh, I don't know who to credit for the next two post, sad but true. That just goes to show that I had to learn this lesson again and again to realize how important it was. If I would have known, I would have taken notes. Anyway, my apologies to the slicer. If it's you, please let me know and I will link to your slice!
Someone posted a slice about their dachshund. To tell their story, they used photos and captions. I'm not a big dachshund fan, so this wasn't a post I expected to stick with me. But it did.
One of the photos, showcased their dachshund wrapped in a pair of jeans. The caption talked about how nothing feels as good as a pair of jeans straight out of the dryer. I smiled. Every morning, I throw my jeans in my dryer. When my shower is done, I put on those warm jeans and I'm ready to face whatever challenges come my way. That post made me feel warm, energetic, and ready to go. Just like a pair of warm, jeans.
Finally, Thomas Ferrebee, posted about writing about his kids. If he would have just talked about writing about kids, I wouldn't have thought twice about that post. Tons of people write about kids. But he didn't.
Instead, he ended the post with three memories for the day. One musing was about popcorn, which led me to write my most popular slice, another memory shared about a tree his son drew, and the third memory shared about the stuffed animal his daughter had brought to school. If he would have just said stuffed animal, the post wouldn't have stuck with me. But it did.
It's all in the details. He talked about the matted down fur on the stuffed animal that must have occurred as a result of his daughter sucking on her stuffed animal, when an adult squatted down to talk to her eye-to-eye.
Immediately, my mind raced back twenty years to my youngest son's infant days. He had a red chenille stuffed bear with an olive green chenille scarf. He sucked on that scarf every day. That matted, down scarf may only be a foot long, but it's the warmest scarf I own.
So, as I return to focusing on crafting fiction, I'll remember connecting heart-to-heart requires details. If I've just mentioned an object and not a specific detail, I either need to add a detail, or cut the object. Every word needs to make the reader feel seen, and if it doesn't, it's not doing it's job.
Thank you to all the slicers, who have taught me how to be a better writer, and thank you to Stacey Shubitz, and her terrific team at Two Writing Teachers for this amazing opportunity.