Shift, lateral, snaking the ladder
Well, my daughter and I had to move because we were in a sabbatical house (not christian nor jewish) and the folks came back. Luckily, we moved Right Next Door, in the exact same type of late 1940s house. Where the last place was blue, this house is orange! An older woman lived here, alone, for many years. There is a heaviness in the rooms, a kind of psychic imprint of emotions that are clearly not our own.
What does sadness smell like? What is the smell of loneliness and boredom?
Smell is such a primal sense– I think a lot of writers under-utilize this in their work because for the sighted, we privilege vision over our other sensorial experiences. But nothing can get an immediate and stronger response than a powerful odour.
Larissa Lai integrated odours to remarkable effect in her dystopic novel, Salt Fish Girl.
In a very animal way, I’m intent on scent-rubbing our new home space. I’ve opened the windows and screen doors so that the wind blows through. Last night I baked one of those frozen stuffing-filled turkey breasts for our little easter dinner. M, who was here for a little while, burned some incense in the open window. The smell of rich, dark coffee. The odours of laughter. The scent of conversations, tinged with emotional inflections.
It was a physical move, sideways, to the house next door– we’re trying, through the sense of smell, to climb up diagonal ladders, but sometimes we snake down into the memory pockets of a stranger.