NaBloMoPo Day 20: Follow Your Nose


The inspiration is running low as I have been laid out with a sinus infection over the past few days. But I did have a thought, that tied into another thought, and, if I’m lucky, those thoughts might just birth a blog post that makes sense.

My sense of memory is very strongly tied into my sense of smell. Certain smells remind me of certain people, places, and experiences. I also use smell in my creative process to develop characters, be they for stories or for roleplaying games, or what have you. It is most readily evident in my live action roleplay characters, as I tend to wear specific scents for specific characters. And the scary part is I remember them.

Aislinn Davis – Warm Vanilla Sugar & Cotton Blossom (Bath and Body Works)

Dovasary Windemere – Sensual Amber (Bath and Body Works)

Esther Julian – Bright Crystal (Versace)

Delilah Croft – Secret Wonderland (Bath and Body Works)

Betsy Martin – Black Amethyst (Bath and Body Works)

I still have all of these scents in my collection here at home and, whenever I smell them, I am reminded of the stories woven by and around these characters and the stories still yet to be told. It makes me smile.

Now, I have a rule when it comes to scent and it goes for both men and women: They should never smell you coming but, once you pass, they should not be able to forget you. The point of the scent is to draw someone in, not repel them like a force field. Draw them, illicit a smile, seduce them, implant yourself in their memory. That is the point.

I have a love/hate relationship with my sense memory. I remember the first time I activated it. It was a boy, my mom’s boss’s son. I had a huge crush on him and only saw him during the summer. He wore Tommy Hilfiger. I didn’t know it at the time but, while my mother and I were perusing the perfume store, I picked up the cologne and smelled it and all I knew in that moment was him. His voice, his laugh, his playful hug, the cookies he brought every morning. I eschewed the pansy little scent stick, and asked my mom for a Kleenex, which I covered with the scent. When I took it home, I kept it in a plastic bag to preserve it, along with the one letter that he sent me. Yes, I was a bit of a sap at fourteen years old.

Flash forward almost ten years to the first summer that my husband and I spent apart when we were dating, I took his college sweatshirt home with me. When my mom found it, she said it needed to be washed. I grabbed it from her and told her no, that was the point. I slept with that thing every night for the three months. I could smell both of us mingled on it by the end of the summer and it gave me a great deal of comfort. When people pass me and smell like friends or family members, I often turn, expecting to see them somewhere around me, even though I consciously know they aren’t there. But the memories are and those remind me that I am never really alone.

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