Writing from Kumquats

Once in one of my writing classes I was explaining if you get your mind out of the way and allow what wants to be written from the place of your deeper wisdom and knowing, call it the intelligence of your heart or your subconscious mind, then you will likely be amazed by what flows out.I exclaimed, “You could write about kumquats and you will end up in the story that wants to be told.”

So I then gave the class the assignment to write from the word kumquats. This worked quite well to stall out the rational mind allowing it more easily to surrender to the creative flow. Everyone wrote from a deeper and more imaginative place.

Here is a poem of mine that came from starting with the word raspberries. I had no idea it would lead me to a poem about my father.


Sweetness tinged tart, rising
from root stock my father planted
in the fog haunted garden,

hands plunged into black earth
gritty beneath fingernails, on his knees
seeking the salvation nurturing
seeds can bring a burdened soul.

Vines dripped red berries
sprinkled on vanilla ice cream
in the dark kitchen, on the long nights
when dreams would not let him sleep.

The War in the Pacific, an ambush
in a Philippine jungle, flickering
through his mind for fifty years.

This luscious flavor now on my tongue
pulling out thoughts of him,
tossed in the bowl of memories

heavy in my hands
now that he has been released
to the earth, he so carefully tended.

-Suzanne Murray

Writing Exercise: Start a ten minute “free write” (where you write faster than you can think just letting the words flow) with the word kumquats. Really let go and let the writing lead. Or you can start with the first fruit that pops into you mind. The purpose is to play and have fun.

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