What’s That Smell?

Another Trigger for Inspiration

Inspired by a comment from Andi Klemm about smell being an inspiration for her in a discussion about the muse, I thought I would list some of the smells get my Southern writing MOJO brewing:

1) Limes, Vanilla & Coconut

Those mean that summer is HERE. I have so many memories tied to those three smells. One whiff and I can travel back to a thousand different places.

2) Sandalwood

I had a bottle of Sandalwood lotion in college. For me to be able to remember that should be proof enough that scent triggers memories 🙂  This smell is tricky though. I don’t like the incense smell of Sandalwood, but I like it in everything else.

3) Jasmine

One of my all time favorites. I love Jasmine, especially night-blooming Jasmine. When I had ventured too far from home when I was fresh out of high school, I had a pot of night-blooming Jasmine growing on my patio (the patio was the size of two lawn chairs, side by side). In the evenings, I would sit outside and breathe in the fragrance from the flowers, and it felt like I wasn’t quite so far away from home.

4) Lavender

My grandmother always liked the smell of Lavender. It reminds me of her – elegant, refined, but you still didn’t want to mess with her. **Okay, the smell doesn’t make me think that you didn’t want to mess with her, but that was very much a part of my grandma. **

5) Fresh cut grass

Softball, baseball, picnics, cookouts – all of these spring to mind when I smell fresh-cut grass.

6) Newly tilled dirt

It’s gardening time! The earthy smell of dirt, something productive is about to happen.

7) Pine trees

They are such a part of where I am from, I think of back roads and fields and pastures and camping.

8) Steaming cup of coffee

My friend. I smell freshly brewed coffee, and I think that it’s morning, get the day going, a new beginning. I could write an ode to coffee…

9) Chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven

Home. Milk and cookies. Someone took the time (usually me these days!) to make something that is pure treat, to make someone feel a little more special.

10) Rooms full of old books

Reminds me of the local library when I was kid and going to pick out stacks and stacks of books. Also reminds me of ALL the bookstores I’ve been in all over the country – many of which are no longer there – but I have such great memories from these places and finding hidden treasures on their shelves.

And a bonus – the way the ground smells right after it rains.

What are some of the scents that trigger your creativity?

About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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12 Responses to What’s That Smell?

  1. Roger says:

    After walking and hitching for days almost twenty five years ago, I finally arrived in Monte Carlo looking for a job. My feet were ruined and bloody; but I’ll never forget that first day sipping a Martini on the beach. The smell of coconut oil always brings it back.

  2. Coffee and books would be on my list as well, as well as several others you mentioned. I would add old-fashioned roses, and the outdoors after a rain. Also… and don’t laugh… the smell of diesel engines.

    • Diesel does conjure up all sorts of memories too – none of mine as crystal clear as Roger’s though 🙂 If I thought of the Arctic when I smelled diesel, I would go buy a diesel truck for the summer’s here ;-p

  3. Roger says:

    The smell of diesel engines always reminds me the Arctic where the vehicles were used to recharge the batteries of our radios when I was in the marines. They were all the size of paving slabs and had a life of about two hours. Come to think of it, things haven’t changed.

  4. 2, 3, 4, 5, & 10 🙂

    the smell of hay and/or fallen leaves in the autumn is awesome, as is the smell right before it is going to rain and that damp smell of dew on the grass in the summer time right around 3 a.m.. Oh, and the smell of a cornfield in October. Oh! And alfalfa. I love the smell of fresh cut alfalfa (grew up a rural girl, here, LOL!)

  5. DM Yates says:

    The smell of dirt after a rainfall always reminds me of home. The smell of honeysuckle brings back memories of door to door selling in the San Franciso area.

    • I’m highly allergic to honeysuckle, so the smell of it always reminds me of the taste of liquid Benadryl :-<
      It is amazing, though, how dirt smells differently wherever you go. The smell of the dirt after it rained at my grandparents' house was different than the way it smells here after a rain. That is one of those scents that seems to resonate with many people.

  6. Pingback: 6 Easy Ways to Boost Your Creativity | melindamcguirewrites

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