Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nosy Interview: Brian McGuigan

Brian & Sonny recline in a section of M16: Pillars of Creation, © J. Hester, P. Scowen (ASU), HST, NASA

I first met Brian at the beloved Seattle literary institution, Richard Hugo House, where he himself is a beloved institution, working as the Program Director and curating one of the most delightful reading series of all-time, Cheap Wine & Poetry (and its spin-off, Cheap Beer & Prose). Learn more about Brian and his work at brianwithani.com.

What do you smell like? 
I don't have a smell, I don't think. When I was a teenager, my nose was broken in a fight, and I never had it fixed. My sense of smell hasn't been the same. Back then, I'd describe my smell as a typical teenage boy's--a mix of sweat, cigarettes, pot and hormones, with a tinge of Cool Water cologne to cover it all up. I've since stopped smoking and wearing cologne, and I shower far more regularly than I did when I was thirteen. My smell is more neutral now, though considering I drink 4-6 cups of black coffee each day, that's probably what I smell like.

I asked my wife this question since she has a heightened sense of smell, like a Bloodhound or a blind person, and is probably most aware of what I smell like. She said my scent was "all-man," though I'm not sure if she's just appealing to my vanity or making fun of me. Sometimes I'm sure I have a hint of dog to my smell since I have two beasts who don't respect my personal space, always shoving their snouts in my crotch and laying all over me on the couch. Probably baby spit-up, too, which has found its way onto all of my clothing, and I rarely notice it until I'm in a meeting and I see someone staring at a stain on my shirt, and I have to say, "No, it's not what you think--that's baby puke!" 

What do you like to smell?  
I love the smell of brewing coffee; fresh mowed grass; the intense saltiness of popcorn when you first walk into the movies; my skin after it's baked in the sun for an hour; pages, real actual pages, of books, preferably old books, the smell of history in the words; pizza; peeled orange rinds; dry erase markers; fried chicken; charcoal grills; mornings when the air is cool and dewy; but, most of all, I love the smell of my baby's head. It's unlike anything I've ever smelled before and won't last forever because eventually he'll grow up, and as Sam Lipsyte said at Hugo House, his head will just smell like another dumb shit's head.


Ari Weinberg said...

This interview struck a nerve with me, because my father has also always said that he lost his sense of smell after breaking his nose in a car accident. I'm glad that you can still enjoy so many smells, Brian!

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