Did You Smell That?

In an effort to help end my writers’ block I’ve started checking out the daily prompts offered by Word Press. They often don’t appeal to me and I have yet to see one that’s gotten my fingers to fly across the keyboard however the following suggestion has been floating around in my mind. They suggested that we look at the connection between touch and memory. How the feel of something can take us back to a certain time and place.

I thought and thought about that idea and all I could come up with is that I don’t really think that’s true for me. My strongest sense memories all seem to be related to smells.

As a kid I had a weird little habit. I did not suck my thumb or have a blankie, I sniffed the collar of my nightgowns. I don’t know, it just comforted me. Every night I would fall asleep in bed while contentedly sniffing my nightie. Smells continued to loom large in my life, both pleasant and repugnant.

As a matter of fact I have learned to recognize the scent of an approaching migraine. All of a sudden I’ll smell cigar smoke. No visual haloes for me.

When I was running a lot there was one particular spot on my longer runs that in and of itself was a reward for running. The scent of pine needles so sweet and so strong that I would immediately be transported back to summer camp. I would take that route just so that I could reach that aroma.

The smell of strawberries, always pleasing, takes me to my old habit of collar sniffing. I can still remember being a little girl and checking out the different smells captured in the flannel of my nightie when I came across the scent of strawberries. My best sniffie moment ever. I know, combine that with my crush on Mr. Clean and my nerd girl reading habit and I think maybe I was kind of a weird kid. I’m sitting here laughing to myself as the realization just now hits me.

A freshly cut cucumber equals summer plain and simple.

Lemons mean Love’s Fresh Lemons perfume and the 1970’s.

Babies. Nothing smells as good as a baby’s neck. That’s the scent of love and motherhood.

The day old scent of smoke from a fire on clothing is summer camp cookouts, fresh smoke from a fire is the quintessential scent of winter. A cold, cold winter day has its own smell that will always remind me of our first winter here in the north.

Scratch and sniff storybook paper is the memory of snuggling with and reading to my niece about 27 years ago.

I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you.

So tell me, is it touch or smell for you? Or is it something else completely?

No Fault In The Book

I know that I must have mentioned at some point in time that I am a big reader. I always have been.  As a little girl I had a favourite doll, Baby Bright Eyes*. I loved her because when I would squeeze her hand her big blue eyes would light up enabling me to sneak-read in bed under the covers. It was the perfect ruse. If only they had invented a Baby Blow Hole that I could have used to help me with ventilation under all those covers.

When I was young and passionate (a.k.a. snobby) about my reading it was only fine fiction for me. Don’t get me started on books made into movies. Why can they never seem to do them justice? The Life of Pi being the one huge exception that I can think of.

So last night my son dropped a bomb on me when he told me that The Fault In Our Stars is being made into a movie. This could be on the same level of bad as when they tried (with minimal effort it would seem to me) to make A Prayer for Owen Meany into a movie. I still shiver just thinking about it.


Last March break when we were away on a family vacation one of my twins wanted me to read The Fault in Our Stars as he had just finished it and thought I too would like the book. We read a lot that holiday, passing books amongst us as we finished them. So I read the book. I read the book and I cried. I cried and I cried. I went back to the hotel room and I cried in private. I read next to the pool and I cried in public.  My other son read the book and while he did not cry he understood my tears. He understood them so well that he was able to quote lines from the book that would choke me up. My sons were amused and I was embarrassed.  As a parent it is a crushingly sad book. But it is the strength and the brilliance of the characters that make it such an beautiful read. It is an important existentialist novel that is not just meant for teens. However, it does introduce existentialism to teens in an easy to understand manner without speaking down to them. The characters are intelligent without being condescending, they are filled with pathos without being pathetic. 

I even bought a copy of the book for my Kindle so that I could highlight it to my heart’s content.  This is one of my favourite quotes:Image

I don’t know John Green but I love him for giving the world this book. I only hope that the movie does him proud.




*I tried to find an image of Baby Bright Eyes to insert into this post, I wasn’t successful and now I need to sleep with the light on – there are some very creepy dolls out there!