Skip to content

Sensory Study: Monica Wendel

May 6, 2013


LOCATION: Kerouac House
College Park, FL
TIME: 10:30 AM
75 degrees
CONDITIONS: Light-dappled and breeezy

“Between Fairhope, Alabama and Ocala, Florida I drove away from the sun until no lights were left on the highway, just woods around the road…” 

In her poem Brain Science, one hears the rhythm of driving. The hum of the tires. Monica Wendel’s keen sense of sounds and surroundings fuels her creative voice. Monica joined us last month at the Somewhere in the Suburbs Destination Journal location and is the current writer-in-residence at The Kerouac Project of Orlando.

So how does she use what she hears to hit our hearts, and has she noticed any new sounds in Florida?

” I try to get the sounds of the words to reflect the surroundings they’re describing. When I’m writing, word combinations and poems I’ve memorized just stick in my head, like others get songs stuck in their heads. Sounds I’ve noticed while in Florida are, of course, the car—a lot of driving happens here— and also birds. Bird chirps that I’ve never heard until now. Hearing them, noticing how unfamiliar they are, has been interesting. I’m wondering how they’ll make an appearance in my writing,” says Monica. During her residency, Monica’s writing schedule has shifted from a morning routine in Brooklyn, New York, to an evening one here in College Park.  And she’s noticing the rain and thunder, which sometimes “shakes The Kerouac House during stormy evenings.”

You can click on the links to pre-order Monica’s new book, No Apocalypse, purchase her chapbook, Call it a Window, and listen to her poem, Brain Science, on

This week, take a few moments to listen to the sounds in your car, on the subway, or on your porch. Experiment with their richness and rhythm in your Destination Journal. 


Poetry lovers. Interested in receiving Monica’s new book, No Apocalypse?  Simply share what inspires your creativity on the sensory front. I’ll be selecting one of your comments and mailing a copy of her book to that lucky reader! Comment by midnight Friday, May 24, 2013. — Thanks to all who participated and congratulations Alexandra. Your comment was selected—Monica’s book will be coming your way soon!  Dina

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2013 8:19 pm

    Haze. The texture of sugar under my thumb. Well-muscled shoulders. Trying to see what’s beneath brackish water. Bourbon Street barkers. Gold.

    • May 22, 2013 8:37 pm

      Thanks Alexandra! Also, just checked-out your shop, beautiful jewelry!

  2. Jesse Raidiger permalink
    May 22, 2013 9:53 pm

    The smells of Spring and Summer, especially right before or after a rainstorm.

  3. Dan permalink
    May 22, 2013 11:26 pm

    Crushed grass and pine shavings in my nose, coarse wood-grain in my hand. A slow current running over my feet, and smooth pebbles beneath them.

  4. adjusters permalink
    May 23, 2013 4:32 pm

    My dog at the foot of the bed, sleeping in, as she guards my dreams.

  5. May 24, 2013 5:40 pm

    Creativity, for me, is fueled by the heightened senses in my dreams. Some believe we have very little sensory input available during sleep; I disagree. My artistic and humanistic goal is to interpret how a distorted reality touches the emotions within our hearts. Call me an emo-kid if you will, but I believe touching someone with heart is much more lasting than a simple caress. Dreams are the plays our hearts direct in our slumber. I can taste them, feel them, touch them, smell them and do my very best to relay them.

    • May 24, 2013 7:33 pm

      Thanks Benjamin! Our senses and dreaming, such an interesting topic for creative exploration.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: