Sensuality: The Language of the Body

Sometimes, we are taught to be stoic, to ignore pain or exhaustion so that we can persevere during our day for a set task. We overlook cold symptoms, aching joints or even a hangnail because we have Things To Do, darn it, and don’t have Time For This.

And hey, I am totally a member of the Stiff Upper Lip club. I’m a MOM. This is part of the gig.  Moms do not get sick days.  There are no holidays from motherhood while children are young and in your care.  More women go without medical treatment for real, serious maladies than men because we often just plow ahead.  We don’t have time or leisure not to.

But that’s not what this post is about. This is about Sensuality in Writing.

In all the focus on ignoring our body’s real signals, sometimes a writer will ignore a lot of other things that can enrich our prose.  Heeding these signals, these senses, being aware of them, is a form of sensuality.  It is a language we can all master.

I’d like to challenge you to focus on your body for an hour or a morning or a day.  With a journal in hand to take notes. Yes, I am so serious.  Each thing we do provokes a physical response.  From the most basic things to the most precious.

Taking a shower –How does it make you feel?  Stop while the water runs over you.  Feel the heat and cold and how your skin reacts.  The loosening of the muscles at the base of your neck.  The way the lather makes you feel as it courses down your spine.

Eating breakfast – What does it to do your mouth?  Hot tea going down your throat?  Cold milk in your stomach?

Take a walk.  Come back and write down how it felt, inside yourself.  The breathing, the possible pull of muscles if you go up or down hills.

You get the idea.

When you are writing, part of the job is to get your reader viscerally involved with your characters. When you can describe their intimate feelings – feelings of the body, of the senses – you bring them closer to “being there.”  Institute sensuality in your work.

And don’t hurt yourself – but if you do, please see a doctor.

And then write down how it feels. 🙂