Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Light Mist of Hairspray

This is about writing, promise. I had my hair cut today, and my stylist usually blow dries it straight before putting the final touches on. (Mostly depuffing the ends--I'm amazed that her scissors snip into it so much and the result isn't a tattered mess...writing, really, I promise.) Today she used a new styling spray while drying, a faint mist that smelled...vague and familiar. I finally placed it. The gently floral, lightly powdery smell was nearly identical to a perfume my grandmother used to wear. Immediately, I saw her bedroom, with its neat row of perfume bottles and jewelry cases, the olive green sofa in her living room, the way the light poured through her front-room windows. Heard her songbird clock chirping the hour from the kitchen. Thought about how her homemade cereal tasted, how her bran muffins crisped on the tops.

And it was a startling reminder of how every sensory experience adds together to form a complete picture in real life. Sometimes I get so caught up writing action, visuals, and dialogue that it's easy to leave the sensory indicators of place, time, character behind--which is odd as these are probably my favorite things to write. One more thing to consider as I work on the draft of the WIP. I was reminded as well how, when we are seeing (and smelling and tasting and hearing) a place through a character's eyes, what they perceive and how it connects to them can say more about character than even their actions, when placed correctly.

That's enough of me pontificating on the obvious--time to go outside and enjoy the spring weather.

No comments: