Monday Muse: Scents and Sensibilitiy

I was, long ago before the earth’s crust cooled, a psychology major. Now remember that a B.A. in Psychology qualifies you to wait tables in some of America’s best-known restaurant chains and not much else. But, being the know-it-all Queen of the Universe I am, even at that early age, I rejected all advice and majored in Nothing Marketable, with a minor in Overqualified.
But along the way I did pick up a few interesting little facts about human behavior. One of them is that, of all the senses, the one which most evokes memories is the sense of smell. Think about it – when you catch a whiff of PlayDoh, aren’t you right back in preschool? I can’t smell peanut butter and Ritz cracker without suddenly being eight years old, eating snack at Vacation Bible School with my buddy Anna. And on the less-pleasant side, the smell of a certain industrial cleaning solution will forever be linked with my dad’s stay in a nursing home. Scents are powerful.
So it is no wonder that many of us write to the aroma of scented candles. Aside from just the lush, spoil-myself-a-little aspect of using an expensive candle, the right scent can take me to the scenes in my WIP quicker than anything else I’ve tried.
For a long time, I just picked a scent I liked and rolled with it. But lately, I’ve been a little more focused in my selections. I’m writing a story now that is set between two very different worlds — a simple, downhome small town in Georgia and the jet-set lifestyle my heroine visits during her time with Mr. Wrong. So I’ve got two candles this time, one for each of the worlds I am creating.
For scenes in Oswald Corners, Georgia, I use Yankee Candles’ Home Sweet Home. The Yankee Candles website describes it as a blend of cinnamon, spices, and freshly poured tea. To me, it just smells like my grandma’s kitchen. And since my Grandma was a saintly Southern Baptist woman like the church ladies in my WIP, that works just fine.
But when Cassie, my hero, goes off to the big city with the cad who will do her wrong, cinnamon and spice just don’t cut it. So for those scenes I use Tyler Candles’ Cashmere Elegance, which uses peonies, sandalwood, rose de mal, and cashmere woods in a lovely mixture that just smells like being rich.
I think I need another candle for the ending, where Cassie learns that some things from the small town are worth keeping, even though she stays in the big city. If anybody has ideas for a happy-ever-after candle, let me know!


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