(Male or female, doesn’t matter).
Why? Because smell is one of the five senses with which writers are supposed to imbue their scenes, and I need to experience ‘scent’. Sound I get—onomatopoeia helps, seeing I get; taste is easy—bitter, salt, sour, sweet, umani (savoury) and touch is fun—unless it’s painful.
But smell? No, it rarely registers, so I need to sail forth, nostrils wide and eager. Also I’m a little tired of heroes smelling of ‘mint’ or ‘mountains’ or ‘musk’ (what the hell is that), and heroines who waft ‘roses’, ‘wild flowers’ or ‘summer meadows’.
Frankly, I much prefer ‘the smell of his skin was all him’ or ‘he drowned in the scent of her’, because then I can exercise my own imagination as a reader, without being yanked out of the story to ponder what ‘musk’ smells like.
Anyway, to return to my mission. Following strangers around town and ‘accidently’ lunging at them for a good old olfactory inhale doesn’t appeal. One, I have no desire to get arrested, and two, crowds are not described affectionately as ‘the great unwashed’ without reason.
Then it hit me, I’m mother-of-the-groom at an up-coming wedding. The guests are his friends not mine, so I can sniff with impunity. A graceful tilt forward (I can pretend I’m hard of hearing or tipsy even, that should impress) and…deep inhale. What could be more subtle?
Naturally I remain undaunted by my lack of stature and the very real likelihood that I’m likely to become well-acquainted with belly-buttons (God, I hope they are clean) and arm-pits (likewise). I see adventure on the horizon, new sensory experiences, and much fallen pride. Mine, and I hope you all appreciate it. I'm doing this for you and for my 'art', so that I might share my discoveries. Mayhap, in future, heroes will take on a new fragrance, heroines too. Or, I may end up settling for good old sweat, which to be honest, I’ve never much minded—so long as it’s fresh, and not laced with that powerful hint of stale bacteria eg good old, ripe, body odour. Who knows, tis a voyage of discovery.
Give me a fortnight and I will report back, hopefully with herbal
essence flowing from my pen.
PS. Much as I enjoy using parenthesis to bracket my thoughts and
I’m not exactly immune to the em dash, you might notice an over-scattering of commas in this piece—fear not, they are simply
my way of referencing confetti.