The Nose Knows What the Nose Likes

Assignment: Write at least 100 words about something you love to smell.

If you were to ask my nose, it would tell you that there is no better smell in the world than vanilla. Except maybe basil. Or lemon. or orange, or grapefruit, or almost any citrus. Each of these scents makes my nose twitch with delight.

Why am I so attracted to these vegetative odors? Is it that they actually smell edible? Or that they are so crisp, so clean, so unassuming, that what you smell is what you get? There are no layers upon layers of complexity to these fine natural bouquets. No lofty top note floating above a sultry bottom note. No manufactured mystery to confound the nasal receptors. Lemon is just lemon, basil offers no pretense, vanilla needs no explanation. These aromas whisper: “We were not made in a laboratory, but grew in the sunshine and the rain. We are simple and clean. We will nourish you.”

My soul is indeed nourished by these fragrances. A mere whiff of one induces me to inhale more deeply, to cleanse my nostrils of less inviting scents. I involuntarily close my eyes, the better to isolate and enjoy the experience. And now, I have induced myself to go and find a lemon to sniff.

Gail Hunn ©2013

The Chill is Gone

Assignment: Write at least 100 words about a piece of clothing

The air blowing out of the coal stove is cool, despite the red glow from within. No matter. The old serape folded across the chair warms my back, as it has done for three decades. As I pull the material tighter around my shoulders, I remember purchasing the serape from a booth in a farmer’s market for ten dollars. It was one of the first purchases I made with money I earned at my first job. I returned to the market several times after that to purchase a few more, in different patterns. I still have them all, save one I gave to my sister.

Made of acrylic, the serape is as warm as wool. But softer than wool. Somehow, it has never lost its smooth feel, never pilled the way most woven fabrics eventually do. It is made of two rectangular pieces, sewn together for half their length. The stiched half goes against the back, and the two free ends are pulled over the shoulder and crossed in the front.

As warm as it is, the serape is useful only when sitting or walking. It is impractical when cooking, or washing dishes, or playing the violin. It has no fastening, and so flops about with movement and gets in the way. But when the coal stove is blowing cool air over me as I type on a cold Winter’s evening, it is perfect for warming my back.

Gail Hunn ©2013

Enter Title Here

Today is the beginning of a new venture: I am starting a blog. It is the thing to do, “everybody” does it. To stand out from the crowd these days, one merely has to resist starting a blog.  And resist I did, until today. Why did I resist? Not to stand out from the crowd, as you may have gathered from my previous statement. Well, maybe just a little.  To tell the truth, I never gave it much thought until recently. Then why did I change my mind? The answer is simple: I enjoy writing. Blogs are good for that.

So I girded myself and started up WordPress. The first thing it wanted me to do was provide a title for the entire blog site. And now, at the very beginning, I find myself at a loss. Certainly individual writings require titles, and it is easy enough to think of a title for an essay, article, poem, or story. It is even sometimes fun to think of the title first, and then form content around it. But a title for an entire blog?  I don’t know where to begin.

Titles are important. They convey a sense of mood, a hint of what’s in store, a tinge of location, perhaps. One can sometimes tell from a title that a written work will be humorous, or serious, whimsical, or darkly mysterious. A title can hint of innocence while promising horror. It can be enticingly abstract, making the reader wonder what the writing could possibly be about. Or it can be mundane and opaque, providing no inkling of what is to come.

The big question, when it comes to titles, is how to choose one.  The content of an article or essay should certainly lead to the suggestion of a title.  But what about a blog? Surely not all the articles in a blog will have the same content, or flavor, or category. So I suppose I should ask myself: What am I trying to do here? What is the “purpose” of my blog? My first goal is to establish a place to create and store writing samples so I can persuade people to hire me as a writer. But that is today’s mission. What will my blog be doing tomorrow? Or next year? If I get a job writing for someone else, will I still want to blog? I think I will. While writing professionally is a good career, writing for fun is, … well, fun.

Writing is not all fun and games, though, it is good exercise for the brain. When I write, my thoughts become more focused. Often I find that when I have difficulty articulating a concept, it is because I am unsure of my understanding of that concept. So I go and research the subject to improve my grasp.

I sometimes use a word, then wonder if I really understand that word, and ask myself whether I am using it correctly.  So I open a new browser tab and call up Merriam-Webster. More often than not, I find my usage is correct, but sometimes I learn that I have been misusing a word for years. Once I recover from the horror, I learn the correct definition and usage and add the word to my toolkit.

So now I have established that I want to have a blog for fun and profit and self-improvement. But I still don’t know what to call it.  I will just have to proceed with the writing, and see what comes to mind.

Gail Hunn ©2013