I think tonight I’ll post the results from another writing exercise.
This the “five smells” one. The full details are in the notebook I was using in the class, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you what the scents were. The one that led to the first character was orange or lemon, and the one that led to the pet was something dry and a little spicy, although damned if I remember what. I’m sure I mentioned enjoying this exercise, and I’d love to do it again…but somehow, reaching into my own collection of spices and toiletries and laundry aids and suchlike strikes me as not very likely to give good results. If I know what type of thing I’m smelling (“Right, shampoo”), will I be able to concentrate on what the aroma sparks in my imagination?
Would it spark anything at all, is the larger question. There are benefits to having someone else in charge of the writing prompts. 🙂
Anyway, the first section is the characters suggested by the aromas, and the second is the “How Character 1 Met His/Her Lover”. It’s another that some friends suggested I expand, and I went far enough to do research on where I might set the tale. But again, nothing I tried to add felt right, so here it sits….
What kind of person is this?
Smell #2: From a sunny climate, productive but dry—so is the personality, creative but highly controlled. Male, a dark Spanish accent and quickness of speech. Still, there’s something undeveloped about him, green undertones; “plays well with others” only when he gets his way. A flashy young braggart of a matador.
The first love of character #1
Smell #3: Also a sunny-climate person, also male. This man is older, at least in terms of maturity, more stable and grounded without being dull. His eyes are green in an olive-toned face, his body strong but supple. He met the other man after a bullfight.
A parent of character #2
Smell #5: Mother. Proud of her fine strong son, outraged by the fact that he took up with a matador, because her earliest memory is of having loved a matador. She can be warm, soothing, but cross her and she’ll burn you, cut you to the quick. Her hair is glossy black, as are her eyes, depths with no end and buried secrets. She married for profit, not love, yet came to love her husband deeply.
A next-door neighbor to the parent
Smell #1: An old woman. Lost in her dead past, she watches over the matador’s lover like a least-favored aunt. Her recollections color her days and she often mistakes the visiting matador for her dead husband, though there is no physical resemblance between the two men and her husband fought fish for a living, not bulls. She’s a good cook and makes fine lace.
The neighbor’s unusual pet
Smell #4: This is a small brown lizard, quick-footed and quick tongued. It adopted the old woman one afternoon when she fed it a fly that had died in her creamed cod. It clings to the warm wall of her house when she sits in the doorway making lace, and darts away when people pass. The old woman has made a nest for the lizard from a torn mantilla and a clay pot, which she warms all day in the sun and wraps in a blanket to hold the heat for the lizard.
How the Matador Met His Lover
My suit of lights is beautiful, pale lemon and encrusted with flashing emeralds. It is heavy, like armor, protecting me from the charge of the bull, and from the love I see in Rafael’s eyes.
Rafael sought me out after my first appearance in the bullring. I saw him in the stands, as I had seen him many times before when I acted as picador to other matadors—he always sits in the first row above the bull’s entrance to the ring. I fought well under the regard in his eyes, and though I dedicated the ears and tail of my first kill to the memory of my father, I doffed my hat to him first and made the offering of myself with my eyes. His was the only red carnation I picked up from the bloodied sand.
I took a long time that day changing into my street clothes, which always feel too light after my suit of lights, as if I am not clothed at all. But Rafael waited for me in the plaza and I knew I liked the feeling of nakedness without my jeweled armor. I had tucked the carnation beneath my shirt and felt the petals against my skin. We ate paella at a small cafe and drank strong red wine, that afterward I tasted on his mouth in the darkness.
I do wish I remembered the scents. I know the instructor was pleased with the bit about “green undertones”. 🙂