Fruitflesh:
Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write

by Gayle Brandeis


HarperSanFrancisco/HarperCollins, 2002. ISBN 0062517244.
Reviewed by Carolyn Blankenship
Posted on 04/13/2004

Nonfiction: Creative Life

What a delicious book! From the juicy pomegranate art on the cover to the final writing prompt, this book is a feast for women writers. Structured around the growing cycle—seeds, roots, trunk, branches, leaves, buds, flowers, fruit, and seeds again—each section begins and ends with a meditation centered on a particular fruit that will provoke a new level of sensual writing for participants. As much a celebration of life in the body as it is a writing guide, it offers a fresh and succulent approach to what can become a rote exercise for those who journal a great deal.

Gayle Brandeis is an award-winning author and poet with a gift for choosing poems and quotes which insist on a response from the reader. When I pick up this book and thumb through it, I HAVE to write! If the poems don't get you, then her questions or examples from her own life will. For instance, this poem by Marge Piercy, followed by Brandeis' prompts:

In her bottled up is a woman peppery as curry,
a yam of a woman of butter and brass,
compounded of acid and sweet like a pineapple,
like a hand grenade set to explode,
like goldenrod ready to bloom.

What woman is bottled up inside of you? What woman is ready to explode or bloom under your skin? Write from the voice of the woman who simmers inside you, the woman who hasn't been fully born, fully released yet. What does this woman want to tell you? How can you help her find her way into the world?"

Have you grabbed a pen and notebook yet? This distinctive, unique approach to journal writing is bound to jolt you out of your complacency and drudgery—and you will never look at fruit the same way again! Let Gayle have the last words, from the final paragraph of her juicy book: "What seedlings are sprouting inside you? Let them grow; continue to nourish them as they push their way into the light. Keep listening to your own inner impulses. Let yourself be witness to your own gorgeous unfolding."

Indeed.

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