Monday, December 15, 2008

The Mommy Smell

When Mom got ready for a special occasion, I watched her apply powder and lipstick. The entire ritual ranked right up there with dolls and tea parties. The sparkly red compact held loose powder like a rare jewel. Eventually, she changed brands, but I never forgot that scent. Years later, she purchased the original powder. She walked in the door, and this adult daughter was transported back in time. "The Mommy Smell," I said.

Does our writing evoke that kind of reaction? Our unique voice, style, and the way we view the world around us form an indelible imprint on our readers. The use of the five senses can paint a picture as effectively as an artist.

I recently read a book set in the Regency period (1811-1820). By the time I finished, it took quite a bit of restraint not to talk like the characters. The author planted me in the middle of the action with authentic details, scenes, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. I'll always associate that time period with the author. By the way, I'll be doing an interview with Linore Burkard on Wednesday.

Have you experimented with using the senses to draw your reader into the story? Are you exploring not only the in-your-face ways of communicating, but also the subtle nuances?

"The Mommy Smell." I could pick my mother out of a crowd blindfolded. If all the identifying marks on your favorite author's book were removed, would you recognize the author by the writing? Interesting thought.

9 comments:

quietspirit said...

Hmmm, I read several of Beverly Lewis' Amish books. I still find myself saying,"Ya think?" It just got planted in my subconscious and comes out whenever. A friend of mine and I do this, "Ya think?" when we are in good moods.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

I also enjoy Beverly Lewis' books and picked up a few expressions. Jah? I'm currently reading her series, "The Courtship of Nellie Fisher." I'm on Book 3.

Blessings,
Susan :)

quietspirit said...

Susan:
"Ja" I started that series and then I had to quit work. I believe I read the first two.(I used to work in a library. It was in my job description I had to keep up with the new books and what genres the authors wrote in.)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

Wow! That sounds like an ideal job. How many people get paid to read books?

I probably won't review the books even though I like them. Everyone's familiar with Beverly Lewis.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Inspire said...

Now this is food for thought. Thanks, Susan. I actually had to think if I could pick my mother out in a crowd blindfolded based on smell. She never had a 'signature' perfume. I think I could find her by the scent of her clothes...Bounce.

If you are ever at a writers conference and you smell a hint of Chantilly wafting through the air...that's me.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi InSpire -

Bounce? LOL! I used to wear Estee Lauder's, "Beautiful," on a daily basis. When I met my husband, he was ultra sensitive to perfume, so I quit. Maybe I'll start wearing it again.

I don't know if I remember what Chantilly smells like. I'll have to check it out, so I recognize it.

I was just thinking of a scripture (reference escapes me) that talks about the fragrance of Christ. Hmm, some devotional material here?

Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica said...

Great post! I know I'm supposed to use senses but sometimes I forget. The sense of smell is such a strong sense, and can be used to evoke a mood.
:-)

Jessica said...

Oh yeah, I got the book! Thank you. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

This is my third try at a comment. Every time I write something, I think, "that would make a great post." LOL!

All of you are wonderful-gut at inspiring my creative side. :)

Blessings,
Susan