I think the most underused tool in writing today is scent. Of all the senses, this is the one least represented. I don’t think this is horrible, if writer’s are strategic with it. I mean, sometimes things smell the same. But when they don’t….what a way to pull a reader in and get them smiling along or nodded with understanding. Connecting to you. Your words. Your characters.
This is something I’m working on. Scent is on my mind. I thought I’d list a few things that take me immediately to another place or time. Many scent memories are personal and individual. For the purposes of blogging to the Universe, I thought I’d stick to those general scents that most people will “get.”
I titled this post “That Smells SO Romantic” not because all these things are romantic in the kissy-smoochy way, but because I think scents that bring on nostalgia are romantic in their own way. Also, all three of my kids are home from school today, so the list may be short. LOL We’ll see what I can conjure up fast.
1. Cooking on a grill. Scents of barbecue sauce and meat heating the air.
2. Coconut suntan lotion. Hawaiian Tropic. All those from pre-sun cancer fear days remember this. My mom and every woman on the beeach smelled of this for three months a year in Ohio. It’s probably the reason I buy coconut lotions and candles to this day. The smell reminds me of happiness, easy days and warmth. I also enjoy a good pina colada. Mmm.
3. The tangy-metaliic scent of a sparkler lighting up
4. Old lady perfume. Powdery-floral gas that burns your eyes and makes you picture housecoats and curlers. Bleh.
5. Apples. It might be a Midwest thing, but around here apples are in the air for a month. Fresh, crisp apples hanging heavy on trees, softer, sweeter scents of apple pies in the oven, even the tart piercing scent of apple cider under your nose.
6. Speaking of the Midwest, every spring my town smells like a barn stall. Yep. Farmers turn the soil and fertilize it with what is available. Guess what’s available? Gah. I can smell it just typing the words!
7. OK, how about scents from the county fair? Deep fried everything from veggies to snickers. Cotton candy and sifted sugar on elephant ears and funnel cakes.
8. LEMONADE! Fresh squeezed, sugar laden heave. Tart, sweet, citrus *drool*
9. For the parents out there: baby power. The way a baby’s skin smells after a warm bath in Johnson’s.
10. Love. This one is personal. What does love smell like to you? Who comes to mind? Your grandpa’s sweet pipe tobacco and peppermints? Grandma’s snickerdoodles? The scent of earth on your mother’s gardening gloves? Licorice in a candy dish? Oil soaked into your dad’s coveralls after a 12 hour shift at he factory? Drakar Noir – a first love? Big Red on a high school boyfriend’s lips? Cherry lip gloss on yours?
Love comes in a million scents, as unique and powerful as those who carried them.
What does love smell like to you? Personally, I still enjoy the scent of freshly sharpened pencils, but I’m a self-confessed nerd.