In this episode it’s part two of our most recent six senses showcase.

The writers you will hear all participated in the workshop series I offered last year on the six senses.

As I mentioned in part one of this series, we had so much goodness, that we did our showcase over two episodes. That’s why you’ll hear us mention the readers and speakers from our past episode, number 69, which featured Whitney French on the sense of sound, Cicely Belle on the sense of smell, Sarah Munn on the sense of taste. So, if you haven’t yet, I encourage you to go back and listen to that episode found at

In this episode, we feature Tamara Jong on the sense of touch, A.L. Bishop on the sense of sight, and Candace Webb on the sixth sense.

Listen to learn about how we’re comparing our “brain notes,” as our guide to sight, A.L. Bishop called it. Hear how the writers shifted their approach to these three senses and how that helped them bring their more embodied writing to life. (Or intuition in the case of the sixth sense.)

At the end of our discussion, I will offer prompts on the sense of touch, sight, and the sixth sense for you to do some starter writing, a little free-writing that will help you hone in and bring more specificity, concrete, felt experience, and clarity to your own writing.

You can download twelve prompts, two for each sense, in a PDF in the show notes for this episode. This is episode number 71, so you would go to

Get 12 sensory Writing Prompts

Six Senses of Summer Writing Series collage of the five senses: spoons of spices, a person's ear, a person looking at their hands, a board with the text "notice your senses," a person smelling a flower, a silk bedsheet

connect with readers through the senses

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Resources from the Episode

Transcript for Write, Publish, and Shine Episode 71


A.L. Bishop, Tamara Jong, Meli Walker, Candace Webb, Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson:  00:01

Welcome luminous writers to the Write, Publish and Shine podcast. I’m your host, author and literary magazine editor Rachel Thompson. This podcast explores how to write and share your brilliant writing with the world. In each episode, we delve into specifics on how to polish and prepare your writing for publication and the journey from emerging writer to published author.


In this episode of the Write, Publish, and Shine podcast, it’s part two of our most recent Six Senses showcase.


The writers you will hear all participated in the workshop series I offered last year on the Six Senses.


As I mentioned in part one of this series, we had so much goodness that we did our showcase over two episodes. That’s why you’ll hear us mention the readers and speakers from our past episode, number 69, which featured Whitney French on the sense of sound, Cicely Belle on the sense of smell, Sarah Munn on the sense of taste. So, if you haven’t yet, I encourage you to go back and listen to that episode found at, you don’t need to listen to it before this episode, but it’s definitely a good companion episode for this one.


In this episode, we feature Tamara Jong on the Sense of Touch, A.L. Bishop on the Sense of Sight, and Candace Webb on the Sixth Sense.


Listen to learn about how we’re comparing our “brain notes,” as our guide to sight, A.L. Bishop called it. Hear how the writers shifted their approach to these three senses and how that helped them bring their more embodied writing to life. (Or intuition in the case of the sixth sense.)


At the end of our discussion, I will offer prompts on the sense of touch, sight, and the sixth sense for you to do some starter writing, a little free-writing that will help you hone in and bring more specificity, concrete, felt experience, and clarity to your own writing.


You can download 12 prompts, two for each sense, in a PDF in the show notes for this episode. This is episode number 71,


So, without further ado, here are three luminous writers on the senses of touch, hearing, and the sixth sense.


We’re going to go to the sense of touch now and turn to Tamara Jong here. I’ll ask you to introduce yourself, please.

Tamara Jong:  02:34

Well, thanks for having me here. My name is Tamara Jong. And I’m currently on treaty 3 territory preoccupied and ancestral lands of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, Attiwonderonk, and Mississaugas of the credit First Nation otherwise known as Guelf, Ontario.

Rachel Thompson:  02:50

I want to start by talking about the Sense of Touch, which in some ways, I think is still my favorite. I’ve declared that as my favorite sense at one point last year when we were doing this series, and I think it still is. So, can you tell me what does the sense of touch mean to you? And is there anything that’s come up for you lately that you’ve been noticing and observing with this sense?

Tamara Jong:  03:10

Well, looking back on my earlier life, I can see that in my family, touching wasn’t really a thing. But it’s weird because I am a toucher. And I don’t know if this is a real story or not. There was a- I don’t know if it was a hospital or orphanage, there were babies that were at the very end of the hospital ward or the orphanage that were doing better than the babies that were inside. And it was because there was a lady that worked there who picked up the babies and held them. And I don’t know if that was real or not, I can’t remember I thought I heard something. And it just makes me think about how I was the type of kid who needed that kind of touch or reassurance that somebody was there. And my aunt had told me, it was like, last year that she was the one who would come and get me and pick me up when I was crying and stuff like that. And I remember them living with us, but I don’t remember much, obviously, because I was a baby. My memory is not that great. As far as that goes. But she said, when I was crying, she’d snuggle with me. And then later on I was thinking like where were my parents? Deep down I kind of knew where my parents were. But at the same time, I was like, where are my parents, so this leads to other questions. And then I was like, okay, was it this, was it that and then of course my parents aren’t around so I can’t ask them.


I always feel like I was that middle sensitive kid, you know, and this is dating myself a little but like the Jan of the Brady Bunch family, kind of like Marcia, Marcia. It’s always Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. So it made me think also about the pandemic at the beginning. And while we’re living, even now, how hard that would have been for me if I had been alone. That would have been a really big challenge for me. I mean, I’m lucky I wasn’t, but I can see why people would really struggle and that probably would have really affected me. It also made me think of the question of my former faith with regards to doubting Thomas how he needed to touch Christ wounds. And I think for me, like it always goes back to religion and my family. (


And so I think about touch a lot even more because of this prompt. And as a memoir writer, I think it’s very important to think about those things in terms of my own work and in terms of also incorporating other senses in my work, but those were the wonders that kind of popped out when I started really thinking about what you’re asking.

Rachel Thompson:  05:07

Thank you, Tamara. Yeah, I appreciated hearing how people relating this to the pandemic too like the experience that we’ve gone through. And we’re still going through, because I think it has affected our senses in these ways. And both you and Cicely in particular opened up different ways that have affected our sensory experience.


I asked you to think about and bring to us what your favorite texture is, and why it is your favorite. Do you have something to share with us about that?

Tamara Jong:  05:35

I was like, what is my favorite texture? It was really hard for me to kind of think of because I was kind of torn between water. You know, that sensation, when you’re in a kayak or Canoe when you put your hands in the water, or you’re in a swimming pool, just that feeling, how it feels. It’s hard, but it’s not hard, you know, you’re putting your hand through it. And then I was thinking about when I used to be able to play sports, which I can’t do anymore. But I remember playing ball and just sticking into the dirt or taking the dirt putting on your bat, like that feeling the grip of that feeling and how I will never be able to feel that in the same way again in a game. What I’m saying is I really can’t pick one. But then I was like, feeling like what a library book feels like, you know, like the old pages. And I was like, I think this is probably one of my favorites. But yeah, it’s just hard. There’s so many things. But it’s good. Because I would have never thought of those things. Even like what Sarah’s saying about something being a character, even touch being some kind of character, it really can come alive, if you start to like to investigate how these things, the texture of things. So this is a really great prompt.

Rachel Thompson:  06:34

All those examples are such great talent of water, the library book in particular, thank you. It makes me think a bit because I’ve used as a prompt before to the idea of the film, Emily, and how they introduce each character by what their favorite things are to touch. And hers is like putting your hand into a sack of grain. And so all of these, I’m like, ‘Oh, here’s the character, if we were to introduce Tamara, it would be the water, the book, it was great.


I want to also invite you to talk about your journey as a writer in terms of writing about the senses. And in terms of writing about touch in particular. And there are things that you’ve noticed that have changed for you in terms of writing?

Tamara Jong:  07:11

Well, I feel like now I’ll probably notice these things more. But I feel like I was always more of an emotional landscape writer. So it was more about memories and feelings. So I often get lost about the details, because in my mind they’re so vivid. But when I’m actually trying to describe it or put it on paper, I have to remember that I need some kind of anchor. So I think those things paying attention to what’s around me, whether it’s like the touches or the senses, or like sort of other senses, it’s a very good prompt or things that I actually need to think about that can only really enrich the work by again, making it a character and just making it really kind of pop off the page, I find I get distracted very easily. So I can jump from memory to memory without doing all those things. Yeah, it doesn’t work so well, if you’re a nonfiction writer, if you keep jumping from memory to memory, because that’s not going to be much of a story. It’s going to be more like flashbacks. So I tried to think more anyway, when revising a piece to try to put the reader in there with me. But I also have to take the time, and see if they’re not seeing it with me. Like if that’s the feedback I’m getting that somebody can’t see what’s happening, then I should really probably be paying more attention to not just the emotional landscape, because that’s really hard to carry for a very long time. Without anything else around it. I have to think of those things.

Tamara Jong:  08:28

So I think like the smell of bread breaking, you know, seeing a building that you remember, and you have this Deja vu that you were there before because that physical memory evokes something in you the touch or feel of a diary like that I once had. Now that I remember it has little bumps on it. And it was very small. And it was very plain, I didn’t often fill out like a lot. It was like one line, two lines, you know, so it had no lock on it. It’s just making the writing better. Because I’m describing it more. I’m really making myself and the reader feel like, ‘Hey, we’re there. You know, this is what it looks like. This is what it feels like’.

Rachel Thompson:  08:59

That’s such a good note for all writers and for people who are here live and people listening. So thank you for bringing that. And I understand you also brought some writings. So I’d love to hear the writing that you brought today, Tamara.


“Coming home from work the other night, I drove past an older grant house three storeys high with lights on in the library. I said out loud, I want a library!. It looks like a smaller Downton Abbey. But let’s face it, I probably am one of the servants and not the ruling class. Although it’s not that obvious to me until much, much later. My books in my apartment are oddly shaped piles big and small, old and new on the night table and overflowing bookshelves, yet still. Yet still I go to the library down the street my hunger for the feeling and touching the pages through a book I haven’t read yet never stops. I’ve got three library books but keep returning to Brown Girl Dreaming, which is poetry by Jacqueline Woodson. Jehovah’s Witnesses just like why. There’s a verse in Eve and the snake about Satan’s tricking Eve and how God said don’t touch that one apple, or whatever fruit it was. And this brings me back to my youth when I used to be such a believer who was sure she wouldn’t have sinned. But also remember that my sister told me, “I couldn’t stop touching things in other people’s houses.”

Rachel Thompson:  10:14

Thank you, Tamara. I love how those books appeared in that as well. I will also close by asking you about the idea of being a sensitive writer in relation to the senses. And if you wanted to share some of your thoughts about that as well?

Tamara Jong:  10:27

Yeah, I think I have to be more conscious of the fact that I don’t ignore the things around me, the details, I’m kind of the person I think that goes in the fridge and doesn’t find the milk. Even though it’s sitting right in front of me. So, I can see the importance of using more senses to help me dig deeper. Because even in Jacqueline Woodson’s book, she talks about biscuits and grits and eggs, and she does it so seamlessly and like, it feels like effortlessly. But I feel like that’s poets you know, and poets always add richness to their work. So I’m not a poet, but I love reading poets’ works. And I think that’s what happens. I need to pay more attention. So just let that come out. And just let me dig deeper. I think this is the biggest thing, I’m realizing that I really want to do, you know, going back to writing because I haven’t done a ton of writing in the past little bit. So I don’t want to ignore that part.

Rachel Thompson:  11:12

Yeah, don’t ignore that part. And people in the chat are asking about the author, Jacqueline Woodson. And I’ll mention too, that we will have links to all of the books and materials that are referenced in this episode, in the show notes for the podcast. Thank you so much for sharing the Sense of Touch with us for touching us in virtual ways as well to just think of our own feelings, and bringing that nice reminder that we can write in the emotional space. But also grounding it in senses is something that helps again with connection for readers.


I’m interrupting this showcase to invite you to hone your craft, build your writing platform and connect with other luminous creative writers in the Writerly Love community. This is my warm, inclusive and supportive membership community for creative writers to get together, learn about everything from writing craft and getting published, to building a platform and sustaining yourself as a writer. It is a place to grow a luminous writing career with a community of brilliant peers, including all three of the guests in this episode of the podcast who are sharing their brilliant work.


If you’re ready to learn and grow, I’d love to have you join the Writerly Love membership community. Registration is open year round now and I offer a sliding scale pricing model to make it as accessible to as many writers as possible.


You can learn more and sign up at


I’m going to call A.L. Bishop now, she’s here to talk about the Sense of Sight. Thank you for being here to represent the senses today. Can you let us know a bit about where you’re speaking to us from, and share your pronouns as well, to introduce yourself?

A.L. Bishop:  12:56

Yes, thank you. I am A.L. Bishop, my pronouns are she and hers. And I’m joining from the land of the Niagara purchase Treaty, which is Niagara Falls, Canada. And that’s the traditional home of the Attiwonderonk, Mississaugas of the credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga people.

Rachel Thompson:  13:12

I want to start by asking you what the sense of sight means to you? What has come up for you lately, noticing and observing through the eyes, I guess, recently?

A.L. Bishop:  13:23

So I actually don’t see myself very well, myself. I found out when I was in my 20s that my brain is canceling out double vision most of the time and has always been. So I think that for me, why I like reading about the sense of sight is because I think that sometimes people mistake it as one of the more objective senses, and that everybody’s having a shared experience if they’re able to see and perceive things. But I’m really very intrigued by how different people read the same visual cues and like the whole host of interpretations, that that opens up, while we aren’t just like tastes or preferences, but you know, much deeper than that in the same ways that everybody has been describing with the emotional connections and stuff like that.

Rachel Thompson:  14:02

I didn’t know that actually, about your sense of sight. So I’m particularly happy that this is the sense that you’re going to be representing today. I wanted to ask you about the way that people build images in their minds. But feel free to also talk about that experience as well. Because I have a longtime friend who always told me, you know, I can’t really see, I don’t picture things in my mind’s eye. I don’t actually have a visual sense of it. I use language. So just building with words. And then there was kind of a moment on the internet recently where a bunch of people identified that actually that’s how they see this as well and didn’t realize it. It’s one of those psychological phenomena, I guess, or brain phenomena that are coming up because of the shared conversations that are happening online. Thinking of the auditory sensory, that ASMR that’s happening that people found out about through the internet as well.


Can you tell us a bit about how clearly you see in your mind’s eye or even what you said about having a different experience of vision as well?

A.L. Bishop:  15:03

Absolutely. To be really clear, I didn’t know that my brain was doing this little trickery all the time, I was quite surprised to find out. And the reason that this question really hits kind of hard for me is because when I was younger, I feel like I had extremely crisp and vivid images in my head, and I was the person who would take a test and imagine my notebook and be like, ‘Oh, yes, Robespierre was this guy’. And I could have that kind of photographic recall. But then our children both struggled with sleeping as infants. So I went through roughly one year stretches of serious sleep deprivation, while we figured all of that out. And that really changed how my mind works quite a bit. So for me, now, it’s quite different. And the images are fleeting, they’re usually in color, they’re usually pretty clear, but I can’t look at anything directly. Which is interesting to me, because my grandmother had macular degeneration near the end of her life. And she used to describe it to me as a hole in the middle of whatever she was looking at. And I feel like my mind’s view has kind of evolved to that. So there’s this dark, warm cave, and I can’t focus on anything if I look directly at it. But all around it is this kind of imagery, flooding, and colors and shapes and stuff. And it’s sort of all in the periphery of my line of sight. So I can draw on that, and I can feel my way through it. If I try to look at it, it’s hopeless. But if I can kind of relax my focus, everything sort of presents itself. I don’t really know how to articulate it better than that, because I hadn’t really thought about it, since I saw that same debate on Twitter. But yeah, there’s been a definite shift. And I have to say, I appreciate both versions of it. There’s a bit of a curse that’s associated with being able to read clear, perfectly vivid images at any time. So in some ways, I’m kind of glad for my vacuum at this point (

Rachel Thompson:  16:48

You said something about being able to describe that. And just as you describe it, I’m thinking this is an essay that I’d be really fascinated to read if you wanted to explore that. I know you write mostly fiction, but I think there’s something really interesting in that experience that feels like it has some rich writing potential.


So, I want to ask you about your before and after with the senses. You were someone who was there during our guided writing series. And just going wild, I felt like a lot of the time because you often were writing from the perspective of a character and you’re uncovering, ‘well, this is happening with their sense in this way. And this happens with their sense in that way’. Can you talk a bit maybe about that, but just in general, about how that changed your approach to writing the sentence?

A.L. Bishop:  17:31

I have to say, I’m definitely one, I fall into that category of people whose writing has really been transformed by that six session series. And I think that’s partly because I studied screenwriting a long time ago. And so I think that before this series, even in my fiction, I don’t really write screenplays anymore. But even in my fiction, I tended to use the sense of sight, like a lot of screenwriters do, because you hear this adage that the script is your one chance to direct the movie, and tell the camera what to point at and what to focus on. And I think I was really doing that in my fiction. But I like to write a lot of unreliable narrators. So what I found through those exercises, and as you said, I was writing them kind of as my main character, the novel that I was working on. And what I think I really carried forward from that is this value of exploring how a character’s personal visual engagement with the story world, which is different from mine, as a writer, or for many other characters in the piece can kind of augment my efforts to craft either a reliable or an unreliable narrator. I think that overall, I worry less now about getting the reader to look exactly where I want them too. And I’m focusing more on sharing what and how the character sees. And I think that that gives me kind of a new dimension in terms of co-creating with a reader, because maybe I’m flirting with being a little bit misleading or disruptive, or amusing, really loaded visual descriptions to try to influence the images that the reader is creating. But I feel like that really enlivens the negotiation between us, because ultimately, the reader is going to decide how indulgent the narrator is and how much of their vibe to take on. But I like to kind of push those limits. So I think I feel like it gives me a lot to work with.

Rachel Thompson:  19:12

We’d love to hear you read the writing that you brought for us today.

A.L. Bishop:  19:17

So this is from the novel that I was working on at the time of the first series. And I have to say it’s actually from the touch prompt, I didn’t realize that, but the way that it got pulled into the story is more through the sense of sight. And that’s primarily because the main character is an artist, and she’s really used to seeing the world differently from other people. But she has at this point in this haunted house story where she’s just realized that her vision is doing weirder stuff than usual.


“The tumbling clothes should have been a blur, but I traced and followed each garment as it tossed and spiraled the tone and value rich color, the intricacies of flailing movement, while in alarming sharpness and clarity. Above the dryer was a framed print of a loan folding deck chair on a bass beach, the red and white striped Canvas faded on top, but still vibrant, even in shadow on the underside, and below it, the sand, it should have read as a beach, even in G clay, a composite of Hue and texture shirt, but doing the job of being a beach, not these grains of what was left, what was broken, defying the open air and water to wear them down further, each reinforced by its fellows but not necessarily related to them. Apart from by proximity, each broken off from a different piece in a different place, different ages, different mineral sources, they only presented as one to earn dismissal, and thereby facilitate escape in the weave of your blanket, the roots of your hair crevices, orifices defined, yet further places to be to break, to endure that last alone.”

Rachel Thompson:  20:47

Yes, I love that it comes through the sense of touch. But then definitely I see all those things. I’m wondering, you know, as you read that piece, and you’re thinking about the writing you’ve read from other writers, what are the things that you’re noticing about the senses, and the sense of sight in particular, as we read?

A.L. Bishop:  21:05

I have to say, it’s really just this kind of Ozone layer that sensory data seems to pass through on its way to becoming meaningful to us. And it’s different thicknesses in different places. And it’s possibly changing the makeup of what’s going on. And so in my own writing and other people’s writing, I feel like once that intake hits our brains, it undergoes this remarkable transformation. So it’s so limitless in its variations once it’s rattling around in there. For me personally, it’s been a really rich way to uncover things that I didn’t know about my characters, or how their funny little minds work. I’ve also really kind of tuned into how other people are using those transformations to tell me what I need to know about characters and situations.

Rachel Thompson:  21:46

I’ve really been struck by you in this discussion about the relativity of the senses so it’s not necessarily that we’re describing the same experience, but we’re sharing our unique experiences and somehow building meaning and connection through that. So thank you for bringing that element to this conversation.


Did you want to talk about what it means to be a sensitive writer in relation to the senses as well?

A.L. Bishop:  22:13

Actually, it goes back to just exactly what you were saying. And a little bit of what Tamara was saying too, what has made the reference point of senses useful to me as a writer is that it makes me feel safer to open myself up. I’m quite sensitive, and I’m quite private as a person. So opening my heart, and baring my soul can be really terrifying. But with the senses, first of all, I’m dealing with those anyway, that’s already incoming. It’s already enroot. So verbalizing what I see or inhabiting a character’s perception to see what they see, it gives me kind of a less intimidating way to try to connect with the reader and compare our brain notes. There’s still a lot of deep feeling and bizarre associations and secrets on display. But somehow, it’s a less daunting way for me to share the parts that are the deepest and the things that I most want to liberate. But I’m also the most afraid of being exposed. So, having that bridge, with this kind of assumption of some shared experience has really, really freed me up.

Rachel Thompson:  23:08

Thank you so much. Now I want to invite our final writer up to the stage to talk about the Sixth Sense. Thank you for being here to represent the Sixth Sense, Candace**.** And can you please introduce yourself and just tell us where you’re speaking from today and your pronouns as well, please?

Candace Webb:  23:26

My name is Candace Webb, my pronouns are she/her. And I am speaking from the traditional lands of the Pequosette people and the tribal nation of Massachusetts now known as Belmont, Massachusetts.

Rachel Thompson:  23:42

Welcome and thank you for going last and also going with this odd six sensors sort of less defined thing. Let’s start with some definitions, maybe. So what does the sixth sense mean to you? And what has come up for you lately, when you’re noticing or observing the six senses, you define it?

Candace Webb:  24:00

I think I originally went into this thinking, ‘Okay, we’re talking about intuition’. And then I realized no, we can be talking about both at the same time, but the vestibular and the proprioceptive system. So this is basically the vestibular system, as far as I understand. It detects how your head moves, and it affects your balance. For the vestibular system, you have receptors in your inner ear.


And then for the proprioceptive system, it sort of orientates you in space. So when you’re doing movements, like yoga or other sports, and there’s receptors all over your muscles, joints and tendons, which I found really interesting.


So I guess that’s sort of where I started, but I also looked a little bit into intuition. So like Cicely is kind of herding out a bit on the research and I was wondering, why don’t the other senses feed into that because you’re having a feeling. You’re getting input from somewhere and so I guess there’s somebody in Australia who’s researching intuition and how it occurs. And I guess it’s sort of like unconscious processing of your sensory information versus the conscious. So you might see something that leads you to have a certain intuition, but you’re not evaluating it while you’re looking at it, it just happens. So that was very interesting. They gave an example of going to a restaurant, you go there, and you immediately have a gut reaction, no, not going to eat here. And so they’re saying, it’s likely because you’ve unconsciously noticed, say dirt, you’ve noticed a smell that you don’t like. But the point is that you notice these things without thinking about them. And your gut tells you to get out of here. And it relies on previous experience. So maybe you had an experience with a restaurant like that, and you got sick afterwards, for example. So I thought that was really interesting how they linked intuition to some of these systems, as well.


And in terms of my intuition, I haven’t really experienced it recently, but definitely had those moments where it’s been like, don’t go here, avoid this and often have been, right, even though I’d have a hard time trusting it.

Rachel Thompson:  26:15

Yeah, that’s the real trust in your debt, right. So I want to turn to your writing. And ask about just how you use the senses, in your writing before a series and writing through with the idea of the six senses, that’s something that you have brought into your writing. And just let me know about the evolution of your writing in terms of the senses?

Candace Webb:  26:40

Initially, I would rely mostly on visuals and hearing. And then I’ve kind of expanded beyond that by looking at all of the senses. I don’t think I’ve ever included thoughts about the vestibular and proprioceptive systems in my writing at all, because it’s the kind of sense where you don’t really notice it unless you lose it. So if you have a stroke, or something happens to you, you’re not as balanced. You’re not going to notice that until it’s gone. So it just made me curious, more or less how other people would react to a person’s issues with those systems or from another perspective, I guess. So I’ve never included that. I’m sure of intuition within mystery books and things like that, where it’s like, oh, I had a pickling on the back of my neck or whatever. But I can’t actually think of anything specific. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone, specifically talk with a balance. I mean, I’m sure there are books out there that do. I just can’t think of anything that comes to mind. But for myself, I feel like this is expanding my repertoire.

Rachel Thompson:  27:48

We’d love to hear the writing that you brought today, Candace. Would you like to read now?

Candace Webb:  27:52

This is a piece I wrote about the sixth sense or proprioception.


“Adaptation. The teachers at the preschool could not understand. When you were 10 months old, all the other infants motored around the classroom, handprints in the carpet, knees pressed into the mats. You watch from the corner, eyes alert, following the traffic, their parents forming a tight circle on the other side of the room. Your mom sat on the floor beside you stroking your hair. Maybe she was waiting for one of the other moms to come over and express fake concern. So she could go mama bear on or maybe she didn’t care. Maybe she was just happy to snuggle with you. The teacher was cruel. If your child doesn’t crawl soon, they’ll never have the body awareness to walk. They need some space, stop hovering. They could not understand. We could not understand. Whenever we had swim class at school, you could never stay in your lane. You said the splashing threw you off when we were all in the pool together. But even when it was just us, you’d drift over and hook me with your arm. Backstroke was disastrous. You’d get caught in the lane marker wrapped around it like kelp. The coach would reach a hand down as you came to the wall so you wouldn’t crack your skull on the concrete. We were cruel. Keep your eyes open. Look at the lane lines on the bottom of the pool. Finally, exasperation. What is wrong with you? We could not understand. I never understood why couldn’t you walk down the street without veering into me or other people? That drove me nuts. In the summer we’d walk down King West hugging store friends for slivers of shade. I’d always end up on the edge of the sidewalk straddling the curb. One foot in the street as your body traveled its own route. Independent of sight without sense. I was cruel. Stop shoving. Watch out or you’ll bang into someone. How can you not walk in a straight line? I could not understand.”

Rachel Thompson:  29:54

That idea of the child walking down the street with their eyes closed because that’s definitely something my own kids do. And even as you mentioned, too, but the system is changing, you know, in the sandwich generation now myself, so I’m seeing my parents losing their sense of balance and all that happening as well. So, thank you for all those things you raised with us in terms of those systems, and then the intuition as well.


I’m going to ask you finally, just what do you think it means to be a sensitive writer in relation to the senses, Candace?

Candace Webb:  30:25

I think for me, it just means being very aware of all of the sentences when I’m writing and kind of reminding myself to ground oneself because it gives a better experience to the reader. And you also usually have a better experience as a writer. When you do, pay attention to this, and all of the senses, that’s what it means to me.

Rachel Thompson:  30:50

Thank you so much. And now to say thank you to all of our writers who read today and share their experiences of the senses. I’m really grateful to all of you. Thank you so much.


The Writerly love community is my warm and supportive membership community for creative writers to get together and learn about everything from writing craft, and getting published to building a platform and sustaining yourself as a writer. If you’re ready to learn and grow, I’d love to have you join us.

Rachel Thompson:  31:19

You can learn more and sign up at


So let’s connect these ideas with your own writing, shall we? I will now offer three prompts related to the three senses you just heard for you to write. You might just listen and then go about your day and think about the prompts until an idea germinates and is ready to be expressed. Or you might hit pause after each prompt and set a timer to write. And do that until you’re ready to unpause and go on to the next. Or you could download 12 prompts, two for each sense, including the first three senses that appeared in part one of our showcase. That PDF again is up at


So here is the Sense of Touch Writing Prompt. It’s called “Touched POV.”


You’d start by writing a list of things you touch this week. So objects, plants, animals, elements.


You choose one item on your list to write about in more detail, and write everything you know about this item. Also, don’t skip that step of writing that list. Really just give yourself a timer, sit for a few moments, and generate a list because you might be surprised by what percolates or what comes up. Once you’ve picked that item to write about in more detail, you’d write everything you do not know about this item. Where did it come from? Who else touched it?


Now write a scene, story, snippet verse from the perspective of this item. You could set a timer for yourself and then commit to keeping your pen on the page for the full time. I suggest at least 10 minutes if you’ve got it.


Now the Sense of Sight Writing Prompt “Picturing Characters.”


So again, start with a list and don’t skip on the list. Spend some time on that. Write a list of people you’ve been photographed with– anyone at all. And then write a list of daily routines. For example, a morning cup of coffee and evening toothbrushing. But make it specific, for example, morning battle to get socks on a child and evening dark chocolate break. And choose one person from your list and one routine from your other list and write about them going through this routine. So that’s the Sense of Sight writing prompt.


And finally, the Sixth Sense Writing Prompt is “Your Inner Voice.” So you’d write a list of what your sixth sense, your intuition has been telling you this week.


Again, set a timer, spend some time with it. And then having done that first, writing that list making about what your sixth sense is telling you, then write a letter to yourself from that inner voice that knows the truth.


So, those were three prompts based on the senses that we covered today.


Again, you can get 12 prompts, that’s two for each of the six senses we had in these two episodes up at


Earlier you heard Tamara Jong, A.L. Bishop and Candace Webb talking about the senses and reading their brilliant words on the senses.


You can learn more about each of the writers including all the books and resources we mentioned by going to the show notes for this episode. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, this is number 71. So you go to


By the way, these writers are all in the Writerly Love Community, I’m so grateful to have them connected with us all. And they all took part in the six senses workshop I offered last year, which was a springboard for some beautiful words, if I may say so.


This is the end of us showcasing those senses. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have in seeing these writers write such beautiful words based on a lot of the prompts that we did in the workshop.


By the way, I will be offering another guided writing workshop series in May, so stay tuned here or sign up for my Writerly Love Letters to stay updated. You can get those at


In our showcase, I loved, loved, loved all the writing and I hope you loved it, too. One thing I appreciated so much was when Tamara mentioned the impact the pandemic had on our sense of touch, which called back to Cicely Belle in episode 69 when they talked about surprising ways how the sense of smell was also impacted in terms of how the sense of smell is what allows us to create memories, so losing a sense of smell is a double loss.


So, it feels like this sensory writing is something we need for a lot of reasons these days.


And I’m glad that they brought those concerns to our community as well so we could bring that power of the senses back into our writing more deeply.


Next week, I am going to repost a past episode as I’ll take a one-week break from new episodes. Coming up, though, I can’t wait to share an upcoming string of episodes around the theme of agency. So, stay subscribed to get these and have a nice break if you’re having a holiday next week.


If you want to write now, after being inspired by what you heard today, download twelve sensory prompts I offer in this episode in a PDF. They are in the show notes—this is episode number 71,


The Write, Publish, and Shine podcast is brought to you by me, Rachel Thompson and my co-producer for this episode is the talented Meli Walker. Sound editing is done by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.


You can learn more about the work I do to help writers, write, publish, and shine at rachel When you’re there, sign up for my Writerly Love Letters, sent every other week, sometimes more often, and filled with support for your writing practice.⁠


If this episode encouraged you to write through the senses, I would love to hear all about it, you can reach me at


And please tell other luminous writers about this episode. You can do this by sending them to the podcast on my website, or searching Write, Publish and Shine wherever they get their podcasts.


Thanks for listening—I encourage you to stay sensitive and write your most luminous work!


Each writer introduced themselves and the names of the indigenous communities that historically and presently call the lands they spoke to us from home. Here’s Meli Walker with her land acknowledgement.


This is Meli Walker recording from unceded W̱SÁNEĆ (wah-SAY—netch) territories


And I am a guest in the South Sinai, Egypt, on the lands of the el Muzzina Bedouin.

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