I have a tube of body lotion by Lancome called Hydra Fraichelle “invigorating” body lotion. What is most “invigorating” about it is the smell. It’s one of those scents that makes you want to take a deep, deep breath when you smell it and then let it linger in your senses – and then you take another deep, whiff. 
        We all have favorite smells. I love this one because every time I smell this lotion I think of my favorite grandma (maternal grandmother). I was only eighteen when Grandma Williams died, and I’m 75 now, so you’d think her memory would be practically non-existent by now, but not so. Her memory is as vivid as though I spent time with her yesterday. She was poor and she and my grandpa lived in a converted shed when I was little, with a kerosene lamp, a wood-burning stove for cooking and an ice box – oh, and no running water. But the times I stayed overnight with her are my best, best memories. I couldn’t have cared less how comfortable (or uncomfortable) it was. The love I felt there made up for all the inconveniences, and for a little girl, staying with grandma was an adventure.
       Certain scents can be so calming, and we writers have to remember to use the sense of smell in our work. Describing scents can bring a scene to life and help a reader picture the moment – or a room – or a garden – or a person. I have often used the term – “He smelled like leather and sage and the out-of-doors.” I absolutely love that description. It makes me picture a man’s man – someone rugged and strong and able to take care of himself and his woman.                 
     I had an aunt who somehow was able to keep her house smelling like roses all the time, especially her bedroom and bathroom, and even in winter. This was well before today’s scented candles and plug-in scents and all the other ways there are today to keep our homes smelling pleasant. Today, when I smell a rose scent, Aunt Laura instantly comes to mind. She was another favorite relative I loved to spend time with.
        The smell of fresh-cooking pasta and sauce instantly brings to mind my Sicilian grandmother, who made her own pasta at home. I used to love watching her crank those strings of pasta from a wad of fresh dough through a special grinder. Then she would spread it out to dry. I can tell you without reservation that NOTHING you buy in a grocery store can REMOTELY compare to the taste and smell of fresh-made pasta. NOTHING.
        And smell is deeply related to taste. How can you beat the smell of freshly-baking, homemade bread? That’s something else you just want to hold up to your nose and take deep breaths of it – fresh, hot bread. And there is nothing like the taste of a piece of that bread right out of the oven and smothered in real butter! My maternal grandmother used to make her own bread, and – oh - pie dough! Just the dough – flattened out and smeared with butter, cinnamon and sugar and baked. That’s better than any elephant ear you can buy!
       Husbands and wives also have their own unique scents. My husband always smells good, and it’s his own particular scent – not any particular after-shave because he has several different kinds. It’s just his own particular scent that I can’t quite describe but that I know is my husband. When he rode away in a bus for basic training for the Army after we first married, I slept with one of his shirts every night, just so it felt like he was near me. 
        Old books – there’s another wonderful scent! What reader doesn’t like the smell of walking into a used-book store, or a library? Have you ever just opened an old book and put it to your nose and sniffed? I immediately hear voices from the past. I immediately “see” life as it used to be. At the same time, I love the smell of a new book, too – the kind with shiny, silky pages. I remember how much I used to love opening a new schoolbook at the beginning of a school year.
        Walk into a store that sells leather – purses, belts, jackets, boots, whatever. Right away you can see a handsome cowboy astride a beautiful horse with a leather saddle – the cowboy wearing a leather gun belt and leather vest and leather gloves and boots. What a rich, wonderful smell leather has. I have a leather dashboard and leather seats in my Jeep Gr. Cherokee, and when the weather is warm and the sun heats up all that leather, I can smell it when I get inside. I just sit there and breathe deeply for a moment.
     And then there is the calming smell of lavender. If you are anxious or depressed or unable to sleep, just hold a sachet of lavender to your nose, and all your worries just vanish. And again, you just want to breathe in that smell as deeply as possible.   
        I have some hot pads that are like little bean bags filled with the scent of cinnamon. When you set something hot on them, it wakes up the cinnamon. What a wonderful smell! Sometimes I just hold those soft hotpads to my nose and breathe.
         And is there anyone out there who doesn’t like the smell of lilacs? You can smell lilacs a mile away. And the minute you smell them, you think spring and Easter and sunshine and green grass and “purple,” which brings to mind colors. My favorite color is purple, the predominant color in my bedroom and bathroom.
        A citrus smell makes us think “clean” and bright and healthy.
        What are your favorite smells? If you are a writer, it only makes “sense” to use “scents” in your stories. It brings the story and the characters to life!

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