Thursday, September 4, 2008

the Madeleine Project

"I found myself wondering what the madeleine in my own life might
 be - the one taste with the power to instantly transport me back to the past, back to a place, a person, a childhood.  We all have them, madeleines." - Alice Steinbach in Educating Alice

Madeleines are the buttery little shell-shaped cookies made famous by French writer Marcel Proust (1871-1922).   Supposedly this small sweet kindled his childhood memories, resulting in the seven-volume novel Remembrance of Things Past.  Inspired by Marcel, and by Alice, I once taught a middle school creative writing lesson in which we chose a madeleine from our own lives and wrote about it.  There were grilled cheese sandwiches, jelly beans and lots of cookie stories.  Passion was evoked and that's always when the best writing happens.  I found special pans at a cooking store and baked madeleines, which we ate while listening.  A common ingredient in the essays was love, as most of the food was prepared or served by someone very dear to the writer.  Makes you think, doesn't it, about all the little details of the daily round?  About whether we go about them with love?  And how things past will be remembered.  

1 comment:

Catherine Fortin said...

As usual, beautifully written and such a great way to bring multi=sensory writing prompts to the fore.
How a bout jotting a few prompts down for us the next time?