Eli in the (stretched) Sun with Solar Flare, © NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory
Eli and I met in Seattle, where, through the Writers in the Schools program, I got to watch him work a kind of wake-up magic on formerly-groggy high school students. His latest book, a memoir called Clearly Now, the Rain, was just released last week, and you can learn more about Eli, his writing, and his adorable "nutcase toddler" here.
What do you smell like?
I smell like dried spray paint and midgrade aftershave lotion. I think. But I’ve never really checked, I just make that assumption because I have to shave everyday or I look weird and I spend a lot of time in my “garoffice”/mancave, which is heavily tagged—though with words of wisdom not the scrawled hubris of taggers (that was way earlier). Lately the scent of raw garlic is always on my fingers because my wife is a doctor and I am not and so I have had to learn to cook and garlic disguises the fact that I am, at best, learning. To be honest, I probably smell like old dog (that’s dog + dust and decay) because I am overcome with love for my 14-year-old golden and embrace her unreasonably at least a few times a day. I probably smell slightly like pee in the mornings because I often have to sleep with my 3-year-old dervish.
What do you like to smell?
I like to smell many things that rather universally are inviting: fresh ground coffee brand spanking new azaleas and whatnot. But I also enjoy scents that may be more subjectively pleasant: gasoline, fresh tarmac, wicked cheese. My favorite smell in the world comes in August in the north Cascades where my mom lives. It’s an invasive plant of some kind that sprouts in spring and starts to dry on the vine as the sun slams away the weeks and is pungent and spicy by the end of summer and looks a lot like marijuana (I’m told), but is not. I swear.