Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nosy Interview: Anne Stameshkin

Anne is pictured in the Cat's Paw Nebula, © ESO, DSS2

Anne and I met while studying fiction at the University of Michigan (which is now shaping up to be as fertile ground for nosy-interviewing as it was for friend-making). She is the founding editor of Fiction Writers Review, one the best spots on the internet.

What do you smell like? 
I smell like it’s my job. Note the overdeveloped feature I wear: a summa cum schnoz. Despite an adolescence spent in loathing (and some rather awkward kissing), I can imagine neither my reflection nor the world without it.

Oh. What do I smell like? Like a pillowcase in the morning. Yogurt, too much coffee, and the orangeblossom ginger body scrub I use. In summer I smell like there's seawater somewhere nearby, not exactly here, and like deodorant: a salty peachy powdery person. I attract gulls. My hands smell like the keyboard of my laptop: more coffee, crumbs, plastic heat. If I’ve been cooking, add garlic and a pinch of burning flesh. I own and love Fresh’s Fig Apricot Eau de Parfum, which promises “Turkish apricot, peach skin, lychee, fig leaf, petitgrain, dandelion, green tea, musc, marine notes”— and I go through phases of jubliant spritzing, then of wary dabbing, then of perfume silence, certain I smell of beer. (Like Charlotte, I detest the overly cologned and live in fear of joining them.) To mosquitoes, I smell like sweet-sweet blood; I get fifty bites while my picnic companion gets zero.

What do you like to smell?
I like to smell Oliver’s—my cat’s—breath (warm wheat, scallops) and let him smell mine. White wines. Pillow Talk mead from Drake Brothers: spicy honey. Warm bread doused in olive oil and vinegar, not yet tasted. Horseradish! The smell of Aaron’s omelets sizzling in the pan, and of his head after he’s shaved it. My aunt’s kitchen. Fresh cilantro. Sage, burning. Dried roses. Farmland…I grew up in Lancaster, PA, so that rich, sour smell of manure makes me feel homesick and safe. Campfires. Horses. The air after heavy rain in the summer. Sun on wooden decks. Wet grass, even though it makes me sneeze. An old theatre, when every seat is filled and it’s dark and the overture starts. Rosining a cello bow. The laundry scent that hits you in warm little blasts on any side street in New York. And I know it’s gross, but I relish the odor of a chlorined pool, wet hair that’s been in one. And gummy frogs. What haunts me are those familiar-yet-unnameable smells that waft up and, rather than triggering a memory, fill us with unexpected yearning: something lost. How I wish we could google a smell!

6 comments:

Preets said...

I love that laundry scent too. It's one of my favourite NYC smells. And I am so very, very glad that I do not attract gulls.

Anonymous said...

I also would give a lot to google a smell.

nosy girl said...

I know! Get on it, Google.

Geoff Granfield said...

She gives a bright new take on that age old adage about smelling young and free. She should be doing women fragrances on magazine, for what it's worth. My two cents.

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