Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Smell

“Both men were smoking; the air held it low because the kitchen was steamy from cooking and the storm windows sealed us in, the smoke blending with the milk smell of the room, the room soured every inch by milk slopped and stirred, churned and set by, year after year, may be seventy of them passed together.”

Very few words are out there to describe a smell. What is the solution? How can you touch the sense? Some writers find a way out through giving their readers a cocktail of senses. A room stuffed with milk smell (for the last seventy years), smoke and cooking can easily be imagined. Some other writers try to mute other senses to accentuate the sense of smell. When the character moves through darkness, the reader also try to grope things in the darkness, heightening his sense of smell. See this:

“Hand-in-hand we climbed the dark stairs, knocked on the doors. I shivered, held Grandma tighter, remember still the smell which was curiously fragrant, a sweet soup of talcum powder, folded curtains, roses pressed in a book. Was that what years smelled like?”

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