A story in smells


Barbasol shaving cream.

Mommy’s wool lamb.

Oil dripping under the car.


Worms baking in the sun.

Corned beef hash frying in a pan.

Dead fish and pond scum.

Folger’s freeze dried coffee and an old-fashioned donut.

Lye soap.

Liver sausage on white bread.

Fresh dog poop.

Hot buttered popcorn in a brown paper bag.

Soft-boiled eggs.

Mildew breath.


Hospital basement and soiled linens.

Yellow death.

Thick syrup of lilies.

White roses in a wood basket.

Fresh grave dirt.



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dayner
    Jul 20, 2010 @ 10:08:54

    I read this a couple of days ago but didn’t respond because it made me cry. 🙂

    This is an incredible ‘Story in smells’. I can connect every important memory to a smell, which is funny because I tend to forget this sense when I write.
    Great job, I may try this to improve the sensory detail in my writing.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • Kathan Lewis
      Jul 23, 2010 @ 09:52:07

      Thanks, Dayner – I wrote in on Ann L’s page, but decided to post it here. I made my heart heavy when I wrote it. But it was such a great exercise, I never wrote anything just from smell before.


  2. Natasha
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 09:31:17

    Wow, you really told the story of a full life through smells, didn’t you? Very visceral, and I see it as well as smell it.


  3. Shaddy
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 13:39:08

    I enjoyed this when I read it on Ann’s website and again today. A world without smells would be much less interesting.


  4. Darksculptures
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 12:51:15

    I loved this exercise and such an important lesson to remember about writing – use your senses to describe the world around you.


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