The sense of smell is a powerful thing. Smell and taste are directly connected to the hippocampus, which is the center of long-term memory. All the other senses are detoured before making the trip to long-term memory. That is why, when we smell something from our past, we have such a visceral response. Your mother’s favorite perfume, oil and grease reminds you of the time you worked on your brother’s car with him, butterscotch candies reminding you of your grandfather. This is the response to scent and taste. That isn’t to say the other senses don’t trigger memories, but smell is one of the most powerful.
Coffee! The scent of coffee drifting through the air tickling my nose at 5:00 am is the only reason I get out of bed. Coffee reminds me of good mornings with the Hubs as he prepares for work helping the masses walk. Coffee reminds me of early morning arguments with wayward girls who don’t see the importance of brushing their teeth before school. Mmmmm, coffee is a powerful thing. Is that what is in your cuppa? It’s in mine (thank God). Run along and grab your copy of Around the Writer’s Block by Rosanne Bane (page 140), and don’t forget your nibbles. Todays nibble will surprise those who know me best. I am eating a banana. I do not like bananas. I find them unpalatable and squishy BUT I know the benefits when you have muscle cramps. And I do. I returned to the gym after spinal injections and my body is reminding me of how long I had been chillin’ on the couch. Ouch. Bananas…blah.
The smell of rain reminds me of sitting on the front porch in our Adirondack chair and watching the storms brew with my stepfather. It was one of the few things we ever shared while I lived under his roof. To this day, when I feel the weather shift and clouds begin to form, I wait on the porch for the drops to start to fall and inhale. Our brains make connections and redirection. You are wired and rewired as time goes by. Every time you experience something new your brain creates a pathway to it and what triggered it. In the book the description is so powerful- your brain is a filing cabinet and every time you create a new memory or experience; your brain creates a new drawer to store it in. A new wrinkle. I used to put my girls on the bus and tell them to go wrinkle their brains. I guess that would equate to building a new drawer.
You may not have a ritual for writing in place just yet, but that can change as you build your drawer. Start building routines and rituals. Find scents that settle yourself into the writing section of your brain. Not gonna lie, it won’t happen overnight. It can take a few weeks of repetition to build the pathways needed. First, figure out what you want your trigger to be. Maybe a candy you suck on while you work, a certain scented candle, a pen or a hat. It is up to you. Pop that candy in your mouth every time you sit down to write and begin. You could even go for Schiller’s rotten apple drawer- still gross.
The more often you pop that candy in your mouth when you sit to write the more powerful the connection becomes. I’m not saying it must be candy. Mine is the scent of Lily Musk as I stated in the last post. I would hate for you to get diabetes because of the amount of candy you consumed.
Diabetes = bad.