Jesmyn in the Star Factory Messier 17, © ESO, INAF-VST
Jesmyn and I met in an elevator and, over the course of the short ride, decided to live together the following year, when we'd both be starting graduate school at The University of Michigan. I wish more of my decisions were made as quickly, and led to such happy results. Jesmyn's second novel, Salvage the Bones, was just named a finalist for the National Book Award, and you can congratulate her on her blog or via Twitter.
What do you smell like?
I smell like food. When I am my smelly, dirty worst, I still smell like food. If I've been running, I smell like onions--big, fat, yellow Vidalia onions. If it's been a few days since I've taken a bath, I smell like pancake syrup: no, not maple syrup, but high fructose corn syrup that's dried to gum on a plate. Dreadful, I know. On a good day when I am freshly washed and showered, I still smell like food. This is in large part due to my hair. It is prone to be frizzy and dry, which means that I have to use plenty of products on it to keep it healthy and make it behave, and all my product just happens to smell like things you'd like to eat. The leave-in conditioner I use recalls navel oranges. The shea butter mix I use smells like chocolate. The hair milk leave-in I use smells like cocoa. On top of all of that, I often layer coconut oil. This means that on a good day, strangers want to eat my hair. (P.S.--You can buy these scrumptious products at www.oyinhandmade.com.They're awesome.)
What do you like to smell?I love the sharp, briny smell of the ocean because it reminds me of California and the Pacific Ocean: that smell is very different from the Gulf of Mexico, which smells sort of salty and fecund, I think. I also love lily of the valley because I smelled it for the first time in Michigan, and the smell of figs because it reminds me of savoring them on our small balcony during the waning summer in Ann Arbor. When I smell burning pine needles, I am instantly in DeLisle, it is the fall, everyone's raking up and burning leaves, and I feel such love. Sappy, I know, but true. I like all the smells associated with the places and people I love. I also like food smells: chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, coconut, cumin, and coriander (as you can tell from my story about my hair).