January 23, 2013
Story Spark #6: Scent Memory
We've all experienced a moment when a certain smell brings a long-lost memory crashing back to our mind. Often it's the memory of an event we've forgotten for years, but somehow our brain has filed it away in a dusty corner, just waiting to be jolted into the forefront of our mind again.
It may be the scent of your grandmother's perfume, the stench of onions from the summer you worked in the burger joint or the haze of chemicals from your first "perm."
It's amazing that a few simple airborne molecules can trigger such vivid recollections. Take a few moments now to think of a time when a scent from your past evoked a strong, maybe even startling, memory. Take a few more minutes to write about your experience—be sure to include both the memory and the scent itself.
Smells are particularly difficult to express in language since the olfactory organ is primitive and not involved with the language part of the brain. We have trouble imagining smells for the same reason. But here are a few "scent" words to get you going: earthy, fetid, loamy, sweaty, sharp, biting, pungent, musty, acrid, flowery, spicy, skunky, sweet, tart, sour, and fresh.
photo credit: moriza via photopin cc