Visualization Activity Inspired by “How to Eat a Guava”

This is an enjoyable activity that helps writers develop vivid detail and discover meaning in a remembered activity from childhood. It uses a lovely passage from an excellent published writer to inspire the rest of us.

Step 1: Read aloud: (10 minutes) Read aloud “How to Eat a Guava” from the book, When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago. The text is available below or at www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/pdf/2012/238407.pdf . This is an example of how a simple remembered act can expand into a memory of something meaningful.

Step 2: Visualization (5 minutes) Play some calming music using a smart-phone. Have participants close their eyes, clear their minds and recall a memory from childhood, picturing as many details as possible.

Step 3. Writing a memory (15 minutes) Participants now write out the memory using the details that came to mind. Since this is a first draft, the details may get expanded or rearranged later. Writers should just jot quickly, to capture as much of the memory as possible — hopefully inspired by Esmeralda Santiago’s piece.

Step 4: Sharing (15 minutes) Participants can volunteer to share their memories with the group.

Step 5: Revision At a later meeting or on their own, participants may wish to revise the piece to expand or reflect on the meaning of some of the details, or rearrange their order if necessary.