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Exercise Wednesday: That smells

April 25, 2012

The smell of rain hitting dry cement always makes me nostalgic. I don’t even know why, but for some reason, it’s one of my favorite smells and it has been for as long as I can remember.

It’s not the only one, of course. I love the smell of coffee, pizza, a freshly mowed lawn, burgers grilling, a wood fire on a chilly night, and popcorn at the ballpark.

There are also smells I don’t like, beyond the obvious choices of skunks, dead rodents, week-old poopy diapers, and a refrigerator that should have been cleaned out a long time ago.

Smells can evoke instant, intense reactions. They can take you back to a time and place almost as if you were there again. Sometimes that’s good. That smell of wet cement takes me back to work I did at an amusement park called The Great Escape in the summer of 1982. The job was miserable, but it was the first summer I spent mostly away from home and I had a lot of fun that summer. Sometimes, if I’m not in a hurry, I can take in the scent and close my eyes and remember being there, working in the rain before the park opened to set up a new attraction. And then going out after to a bar called Bruso’s with my friends.

Today’s exercise is, as you might have guessed, smell-related. Pick a scent and use it to evoke a powerful emotional reaction from one of your characters.

Time limit: 25 minutes

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