Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The power of Pine-Sol, Baby!

It occurred to me today how much we are affected by smell. When we walk into a restaurant, we expect to smell herbs and spices, tantalizing aromas that make our mouths water. When we walk into a flower shop, we expect to smell roses, lilacs, gardenias. And when we walk into the gym, well, we expect smells there too...sweat, body odor, etc...

I got one of those Shark Steam mops for Christmas. I'd wanted one becuase I have a pretty large kitchen/dining room combo, plus a foyer and hardwood in the living room (the spots not covered by an area rug) and, of course, a bathroom. It is such a pain to lug a bucket of water up from the basement, mop, take bucket back downstairs, and then wait for all the floors to dry. This new cleaning gadget seemed like a great invention. Lightweight, easy, quick. Maybe I'd even mop more often than I used to!

I really like the steam mop. It seems to do a great job...the terry cloth pad is pretty nasty when I'm all done, so apparently it is picking up lots of dirt. But there is just something missing and it hit me today.

The smell.

Since the thing runs only on water, there is no clean, fresh scent that completely envelopes your entire house. The house doesn't smell pine-soly clean. So even though I think the floors are clean...hard to tell since I don't let them get so dirty it's physically visible, it's just not complete.

And that makes me think about stories and my own writing, how a scene might not be complete without some kind of smell. I always seem to forget to work in the senses...smells, as well as tastes and sounds. There is nothing more powerful then when I read them in other people's works. I remember a story a friend had written where she mentioned the taste of blood. Instantly I tasted it and it completely enhanced the story for me as a reader. I need to do that for my readers too...it completes the story experience.

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  1. oh smell is a must for me. I am a very sensory person and I like all of my senses to be stirred!

  2. I agree, the smell is so important. But I've been using a swiffer mop for awhile so I don't miss the pine sol scent when I do my floors...you get used to it I guess.

  3. This is a good post to you get you thinking. I like to try and incorporate the senses, but often it’s difficult to remember to. But you are right, we expect these things in our everyday life, so it’s not a surprise that readers (ourselves included) would anticipate this here too.

  4. Honestly, it's always something I have to add in after the first draft. I never remember to write in the senses as I'm crafting the story. It's always in revision.

  5. This was beautifully written :-)

    Also, I am very jealous because I have a cold at the moment and am wishing I could smell stuff ;)