Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weekly Workshop: Smell-O-Vision

I've been thinking about smell a lot lately. It could have something to do with the fact that driving the windy, green roads of Vermont can be an adventure in smell: that leafy, green scent of grass and maple leaves, the burnt sugar odor of roadside sweets stands, and the ever-present "eau de cow" hanging over everything. Sometimes, it was so thick, I could taste it.

Smell is the sense linked most intimately to memory. Catching a whiff of an aquaintance's Dr. Pepper chapstick or Cucumber Melon body spray can trasport me right back to Junior High. Even more generic scents, like campfire or sunscreen, can call up a memory as achingly present as if it were happening all over again.

Perfumers are even returning to these common, yet potent smells. Demeter Fragrance makes perfumes such as Dust, Crayon, and Clean Windows. CB I Hate Perfume has selections that smell like an old library, burning leaves, and snow. What else would you like to distill into a perfume, a little vial of memories to carry with you always? Tomato leaves? Chlorine? Magic Marker?

I invite you to focus on smell this week along with me, to choose a scent powerful to you, to focus in on it, try to smell it, then write.

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