Friday, December 23, 2011

Romancing the Pomegranate: An Ode to My Favorite Holiday Fruit

Pomegranate photo snagged from the Internet by Denny S. Bryce.

Did I mention I'm hanging out in Maui for the holidays? Okay, maybe I have a few thousand times on Twitter, but not so much here. In addition to the whales, the sun and the beach, what else am I doing here? Well, I'm taking a writer's workshop called The Art of Writing, Selling and Marketing Memoirs with Rebecca Walker (it's fabulous!).

And no, I don't write memoirs, but the course explores the process for creating memorable, marketable memoirs, and the keys to getting the words and the story on the page are for the most part the same as writing fiction and include voice, situation and story, structure and perspective.

I wrote the piece below in 15 minutes for a prompt—describe your favorite fruit, using all of the senses. It was a fun exercise, and I wanted to share. I hope you like!

Happy Holidays!!!

Ode to the Pomegranate: The Holiday Fruit

I can't remember the first time I had one. Probably didn't know what the hell it was—but a pomegranate is the most red, most delicious, most weird exotic fruit going.

There's the color and what could be more sexy than a round, red, smooth object that fits in the palm of your hand. With its thick skin and furry end or root cap, it just doesn't look like any other fruit.

I like to slice them in half with a knife, and then stare at the juice flowing from the seeds for a moment. The richer the red the sweeter the taste. But is a pomegranate ever really sweet? Or is it the promise of sweet that makes the process of eating the fruit so amazing?

Inside are all of these cocoons of goodness, and I can't get the color out of my mind, and the contrast between the pale little coves where each seed is buried. I bet there's a whole section in the Bible about pomegranates. Back in olden times there had to be some mystery, some mythology, and some message that the fruit had to share. You can't just show up with something like a pomegranate and not want to ask questions about history, the Bible and how old a thing has to be to get its own mythology.

I don't care what you say you can't make a banana sexy (okay, I hate bananas), and apples are so first sin that I bet it was actually a pomegranate in the Garden of Eden.

How dull to pull an apple from a tree when there were certainly pomegranates in the Garden. Besides, if you're going to sin, why not have a thousand seeds to drop in Adam's mouth. Give the man more than a bite or two of the bad fruit—make him work for it.

And imagine the mess. All over his face and hands and shirt. Oh, that's right, everyone was naked in the Garden of Eden. So you bet the pomegranates would have made for a much more fun evil mess than an apple.

I have no idea why I am associating the pomegranate with the Garden of Eden (someone mentioned a commercial?). Perhaps it's because you can only get the fruit in November in the city. And I would only buy it at Whole Foods, or as we call it Whole Paycheck—but again, not the real point here.

We're talking about a piece of fruit. Something that's sweet and good for you. Something that you should have every day. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Yeah, sure, but what can you do with a pomegranate that's only around for one month out of the year?

And how much do you hate it when you can go into the store and get all of the seeds in a plastic pint-sized container. All of the fun of ripping the thing apart and tearing the flesh away and dropping the juicy seeds down your throat—gone. Wiped out. Just because of convenience and whatever else people at grocery stores do when they think about pomegranates.

You know this is now going to be a quest. Find out everything there is to know about my favorite fruit because it is a mystery. It's origins wrapped in secrecy. Because I bet, the pomegranate has been around for centuries and it's in the Bible (everything juicy and decadent is mentioned at least once in the Bible—and likely in the Old Testament). I just want the apple to move over. Get out of the pomegranate's way so that the real red round fruit can rule.

You feel me?

by Denny S. Bryce for The Art of Writing, Selling and Marketing Memoirs Workshop 2011


  1. I love pomegranates! They're associated with fertility in many cultures because of their blood-red juice, their womb-like shape and all those seeds! (There's a reason the commandment says be FRUITFUL and multiple!)

    Jews eat them at the New Year (Rosh Hashannah) and the fall harvest festival (Sukkot). In Hebrew it's called "rimon" (plural "rimmonim").

    As for the Garden of Eden...if the newly-liberated couple was wearing FIG LEAVES, they sure as hell didn't just come from eating apples! Figs are also associated with fertility because of their shape and multitude of seeds. And few fruits taste as yummy as a sun-warmed fig, eaten right off the tree...

    BTW - figs are native to the middle East, pomegranates from the Caucasus region and apples from Western Asia. all have been cultivated in the middle East since biblical times.(Thank you, Wikipedia!) :-)

    Have fun in Maui!

  2. Hey, I linked to Wikipedia in the photo caption because of course - after the prompt - I got the skinny on the pomegranate. When I get back we'll have to have a brainstorming session with lots of pomegranate to get our characters focused:)! Happy Holidays!

  3. In Greek mythology, they appear in the story of Persephone and Hades. She eats six pomegranate seeds while held hostage in the underworld, and so has to spend six months of the year there (hence, why there is winter). Pomegranates are visually fascinating, too: they look like rubies inside.

    (Actually, the warning against eating, drinking or accepting gifts in the underworld or the realm of the gods seems to run through a lot of myths... I'm thinking too of the Celtic lore about the Sidhe.)

    Great piece. Look forward to more.




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