You Smell

I smell. Let’s face it, we all smell. It is one of the five senses.

What did you think I was referring to?   🙂

On my trip to town to return a faulty hose, the truck had filled with that wonderful plastic funk. I sat for a moment to just inhale. I’m not sure why I like that particular smell–oh yeah, I’m twisted. But it got me thinking about my writing and how I forget to add smell.

You don’t want to insert it just because. Then it grabs the reader like removing your yard shoes in a crowd–maybe you have feet that smell like roses, but my yard shoes have tracked through cow, horse, dog and chicken poop and that’s not even including my sweaty feet.

Right now, I have Carolina Jessamine and Confederate Jasmine blooming. The yellow jessamine’s fragrance reminds me of my childhood and playing with friend, Boo. Her mother grew the most wonderful flowers and landscaped four acres of yard, plus raising four kids–or twelve as the Yeakel house was THE place to be. We caught horny toads in the front that was xeriscaped–way before it became fashionable. The plantation house front lawn was just like I read about in my books. We went to Asia in the backyard with the bamboo. Climbed trees.

The jasmine is the last plant my father made for me. Each new leaf and bloom remind me of him, and his magnificent backyard of huge oak, elephant ears, sultana, and his love. I did not inherit his green thumb, but I’m trying.

I love the smell of a horse and the sweat stained saddle after a long leisurely ride. Indescribable.  The salty tang of the ocean. New cars. Sweet feed. Puppy breath. Baking cookies. My husband–most of the time even with a funk, but not all. (You can fill in the blank here.)

And the one smell that totally makes me weak, the scent of a freshly bathed infant slathered with Baby Magic.

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12 thoughts on “You Smell

  1. AH, baby hair. The sweetest smell in the world. I breathe in babies whenever I get my hands on them.

    I know it’s important to include all the four senses in descriptions, but I am generally flummoxed about where to include it so it won’t be intrusive in a story. spw

  2. I love Baby Magic babies!!! I use it myself, and especially when I was staying at the hospital with Mom, nurses and aides would come in, sniff, and get a big smile as they recognized it.

    My great-nephew is the sweetest smelling baby ever. Even when he has a poopy diaper, he still smells wonderful.

    Fresh-cut grass. Honeysuckle. The minute, when making jambalaya, when you add the paprika to the hot oil and it blooms and sends up that incredible fragrance.

    Woodsmoke. Rain. Lightning. And a funny one for me, given how much I hate cigarettes: getting a faint whiff of cigarette smoke outside at night.

    Sandee, include it where you/your character would naturally notice it. People usually become aware of scents at the moment they first smell them; sounds often take a little while. (I can be in the office ten minutes before I hear the clock ticking. I HATE ticking clocks!)

    • Thanks Marilyn, I always forget to put in the descriptions… I generally have to be reminded to tell folks where I am. In my mind, I see it so clearly.

  3. My favorite smells are fresh cut grass or hay (farmer’s daughter, you know), the inside of a basketball gym, rain. fresh dug dirt, roses while still on the bush. I think the list of outdoor smells could go on and on. I love the smell of babies, but I’m not around many anymore. Although, I have a great-nephew on the way. Due on Sandee’s birthday…July 4th. We’ll see when he decides to make his appearance.

    Thanks for reminding us to incorporate this sense into our stories, Meg.

  4. I know what you mean, Meg. I can smell something familiar and feel like I’m right back in the spot where I first experienced it.

    We had a wedding in the family a couple weeks ago and after the reception it had rained, just a sprinkle, just enough to wet the concrete in the parking lot. And, I promise you, it took me twenty minutes to walk across the street to get to the car. I kept stopping to inhale the smell of the wet concrete in spring. There is nothing like it.

    I wanted to remember the scent so I could describe it for a character. For me, the smell is magical, cleansing and refreshing, earthy, and full of hope-newness, you know?

    So, I get it, totally.

    RD

  5. You all know I love the smell of babies, Baby Magic or not. I also love the smell of a newly washed, dry puppy. Fresh peaches. Popcorn popping. Vanilla. And as strange as it may sound, I love the smell of brand new bottle of multi-vitimins. Kid you, not.

  6. Ah, Jackie–you bring the neatest perspective.
    I’d forgotten about popcorn and vanilla–one of my favs!
    I’ve got 4 wet dogs and there isn’t anything nice about that. 😉

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