What Does Childhood Taste Like?

What Does Childhood Taste Like?

Way back in the days of yesteryear when big hair bands ruled the rock scene, and stirrup pants, legwarmers and neon jelly bracelets were a popular part of women’s fashion, I was browsing in my local Newscenter and happened upon a creativity workbook called “What Does Childhood Taste Like?”  The title intrigued me and, when the author, Jack Maguire, promised “mental workouts that will stretch, bend, and energize the way you think, respond, dream and create,” I knew I couldn’t leave without purchasing it. Three decades later, I still pull out that book and engage in an exercise or two.

I know many writers (including myself) who have tricks and rituals they employ for stimulating their muse. As silly as it sounds, I keep a dozen polished stones strewn under my computer screen that I fiddle with when I’m stuck on a sentence. Remember rock tumblers? There’s something about a rainbow of smooth, colorful stones that resonates with my creative side. Other times, I play an instrumental CD in the background (usually lilting flutes, strings or piano) and, still other times, my muse requires complete silence. I’ve come to recognize what she needs when she needs it, and react accordingly. When I do, and we’re in sync, good things happen. There are, however, occasions when I degenerate into a hissy fit because a particular scene or story isn’t flowing. During those times, I picture my muse as a pouting prima donna who needs to be coaxed. Thankfully, those moments are fairly rare.

Like me, my muse has a fondness for the past – – old photos, fond memories and long-ago dreams conjured from summer afternoons when childhood tasted like bubblegum, smelled of sweet clover, and felt like the splash of cool pool water on sun-warmed skin.  

Looking back, I realize much about my writing life has remained the same. I’m still crafting stories, characters and worlds. I still poke around in that old workbook, and I still love recalling the tastes, sights, scents and feel of childhood. My muse has matured with me, my partner through the journey, but there’s a part of me (undoubtedly, of all writers) that never grew up. It thrives on make-believe and what-if possibilities. The only way to appease that part is to create worlds and characters who populate them. The same as I did in childhood.  🙂

 So . . . I ask you . . . what DOES childhood taste like?  Even if you’re not a writer, take a moment to associate an abstract idea and share your comment.  If you prefer, you can choose to answer what does childhood sound like? Smell like? Feel like? The idea is to close your eyes, forget the present, and recall the magic you felt as a child. What made you happy?  What made you smile or gave you the shivers?

I’m toying with the idea of posting a similar exercise each Monday or Tuesday for those interested in giving it a try.  Even non-writers can benefit from mental stimulation, creative thinking and, heck – – some out-of-the-box fun!

10 thoughts on “What Does Childhood Taste Like?

  1. Childhood smells like salty sea air on a bright blue summer’s day.

    It tastes of warm sugary doughnuts all covered in cinnamon.

    And feels like when you snuggle down under the warmest, feather-filled duvet on a winter’s evening.



  2. Hot crinkly french fries in cold salty ketchup
    while baking in the sun in a wet bathing suit,
    with the salt washed out of my long hair, but
    still drying on my bare arms and sand still stuck
    to my plastic flip flopped feet..


  3. Chicken ‘n dumplins, blueberry dumplins, fried chicken and pound cake for birthdays, crispy fried whitings on wonder bread drenched with hot sauce on trips down south. Park’s sage sausage, the spicy one- before they changed the recipe with grits or grits with red hots
    — ah, and those amazing cold banana popsicles slurped on the front porch late on a summer night…
    Thanks, for ushering all that back into memory, Mae.


  4. You are making me hungry, Venice, and I never even had half of what you described. Awesome! Love the “cold banana popsicles slurped on the front porch late on a summer night . . ” Such vivid magic in memories. You made me feel like a kid again 🙂


  5. This is an awesome exercise…

    Childhood sounds like laughter and music, the whistle of a football flying through the air just before the crunch of bodies falls to the ground only to jump up to the roar of an imaginary crowd for catching that imaginary touchdown. 😉

    It tastes like fresh home made breads out of the oven and the rich cheesiness from mom’s home made lasagne or the spicy tang of chili cooking on the stove. Sometimes it’s the explosive burst of flavor…a bite of fresh strawberries or oranges…or the delicate lushness of peaches.

    It smells like warm vanilla and fresh baked goods…sometimes cookies or pies if we’ve been especially good.

    No matter how I look at it, my childhood looed, sounded, tasted and felt like love and laughter… 🙂


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