At the Internet Writing Workshop there’s a writing practice list that  I used to belong to. The last time I participated was about two years ago and, well, I just got too busy to continue. I remember the assignments were fun and because I need some inspiration, I thought why not give it a whirl and see what comes out of me that might lead possibly to a longer story.

Today’s assignment was the following:

Exercise:  Use the seven-line guide below to write a short “poem.” Then, in 400
words  or less, turn the sensory images in the poem into a short scene that
shows a character experiencing the emotion you chose. Include  both the poem and
the scene in your submission.
Directions:  Use the template below to write a “poem.” It will force you to
focus on the  sensory manifestations of a particular emotion.

Line One: A  one-word title which is an emotion
Line Two: A line that tells what  that emotion looks like visually
Line Three: A line that tells what  that emotion sounds like
Line Four: A line that tells what that  emotion smells like
Line Five: A line that tells what that emotion  feels like tactily
Line Six: A line that tells what that emotion  tastes like
Line Seven: A one word emotional synonym for the title

Next,  take the lines from the “poem” and incorporate them into a scene that
shows the  physical actions and responses of a character who experiences the
emotion. Try to include at least four of the five senses in your  scene.

So here’s my take on the assignment:

Eyes fixed on pillow plush red lips
Blood rushes in crashing waves
Pheromones and judgment clash
Fingertips graze smooth, cool cheek
Tongues dance to the sweet tune of

Hal was nervous. Corinne Sand was to meet him at his apartment instead of Chez Panisse’s cafe. At first when he jokingly said that they should hold their meetings at the restaurant to discuss her dissertation, Hal thought she would have insisted in keeping them at his office at Berkeley, but she agreed and for the past four months, three times a week they met, drank expensive espressos and ate pastries while arguing over the writings of Raya Dunayevskaya.

Their relationship of advisor and graduate student had evolved into a friendship with Hal teasing her with playful innuendos. Corinne never seemed offended by his verbal overtures and took the comments in stride. He was, however, taken by surprise, when she suggested they meet at his apartment instead of the café. When he asked why she replied in her typically practical manner, “It’s cheaper to brew your own coffee, buy pastries at the bakery; and we can spread out all my folders without having to worry about spilling anything on them.” He had agreed, but wondered if there was more to it–was she calling his bluff and testing how far he would go?

Corinne was unlike any of his students. Her fervor for Marx was infectious; he loved dissecting with her the Theory of Labor Alienation. Sitting next to her, translating together the German text, the blood would rush to his head in crashing waves, driving him crazy to keep his needs in control.

The doorbell rang. He swallowed hard, battling to contain the forbidden lust. He opened the door, and there she was: looking deliciously fit and youthful. Dressed in a tight white t-shirt and black yoga pants, her book bag was slung over her shoulder, a folder peeked out from beneath the canvas flap. She held a white box tied with red and white twine.

“A dozen cannolis, as requested,” Corinne said and smiled. Hal’s eyes skimmed the box then rested on her lips. The pastries’ aroma lingered between them, but was it really Corinne fragrance? He fought the urge to touch her and reached for the pastries, but his hand took a detour to her face. His long fingers grazed her pale cheek. Corinne stepped forward and lifted her face to his, parted her lips to speak, but Hal had no use for words, just the sweetness of her tongue and endless kiss.

Yes, it’s rough, but I am bit out if practice. Did I succeed in following the rules. Is it believable?  Do you want to know what happens next? Would love to hear from you all.


  • Heck yes I want to know what happens next! Good grief woman, don’t stop in the middle of something that hot!

    Ahem, I think you did a fine job, completed the assignment as given and would love to see more of your writing. Thank you for sharing.



  • I have been following your blog and noting some of your comments to people I know on Facebook and the more I “see” of you, the more I like.

    The poem? Feh. It was good and fulfilled the requirements, but a bit forced.

    The narrative? Wow! So what else happened? (Why is she Corinne Sand and he just Hal?)

    You’re very bright, have good ideas and naturally great opinions, since I agree with them. Keep going. I remain … a fan!

    • I agree with you on the poem. I am not a poet, but for a first try in more than 20 years not too bad if I say so myself. As for the narrative, Corrine Sand has been changed to Cyprian Wilde. (Corinne is the main character in Julius and I want to keep her there). And Hal is Hal Sarf, a former professor of mine who passed away in 2002. I’ll have to change his name, but I’ll keep it for now.

      I’m a bit stuck on Julius, and thought I would need a break from it. I just started writing the first chapter to this story. Let’s see how it goes.

  • First of all I love your attitude and spirit, your articles and even your writing on FB. I think the poem meets the requirements and sets the tone for a very hot little moment. My only reservation is “battling to contain the forbidden lust.” Sounds to my ear like a soft core excerpt from “Hidden Desires.” (I just made that up) Anyways I want to read your new novel when it’s ready. I really admire your work ethic also. And it takes guts to put it out there to get snarky little remarks from little shits like me.

    • Thank you! And your comments aren’t snarky at all. Believe me, I know snark when I read it or hear it. The Wilde Solution will have a lot of sex, and I need to learn to write it so that it’s “hot” and not porn. That’s my challenge for this book.