Friday, August 16, 2013

sun's up smells

Rwanda is making an early bird of me.

Mwaramutse neza from Kigali! The best things I've smelled here so far (besides my beloved tree tomato) include: herbs from the garden in our yard (basil, lemon dill, and cilantro), still-steaming rosemary rolls and sweet carrot bread made by my bread-baking marvel of a housemate, and the dirt roads after it rained. Here are some smells I've enjoyed reading about:
  • Aaron Paul on his Breaking Bad co-star, Bryan Cranston's, smell: "To be honest, he smells like a freshly bathed unicorn on a summer day in Barcelona." 
  • My friend Stephanie Santana's excellent close reading of We Need New Names
    NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel We Need New Names ends its first and last chapters with the same sensory detail: the alternately ‘dizzying’ and ‘delicious’ smell of Lobels bread. It is a smell that wafts through otherwise macabre scenes. In the first, a woman hangs dead in a tree and the smell is only imagined, as Darling (our narrator) and her young friends anticipate with delirious joy the bread they will buy by selling the dead woman’s shoes. In the last, it is a real, overwhelmingly delicious smell that accompanies the death of something that the children were looking for and wanted desperately to find. In the simple smell of fresh-baked bread we find joy, hope, death, desire.  
  • I've been meaning to write something about the farts and hearts of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, but Willa Paskin said it all on Slate
    Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC’s divisive reality hit about the antics of an energetic, self-identified redneck family, begins its second season on Wednesday night. To celebrate the show’s return, TLC has wedged scratch-and-sniff cards into issues of People and Us Weekly, and will prompt viewers to use them during the show’s premiere, possibly scratching to sniff bad breath, fish, rotten milk, a baby diaper, a fart, or maybe something more pleasantly aromatic—cheese puffs? The scratch-and-sniff is a goof that sounds about as enjoyable as eating the snot-flavored jelly beans from Harry Potter, but it effectively establishes just how the producers want us to feel about 7-year-old Honey Boo Boo and her family: that they are totally fun and totally gross. I’m with them on the former, but it’s the producers who are gross. 
  •  Charles Baxter, on his writing routine, in the Daily Beast: 
    I work during the morning. I pace; I stare out the window. I sit with my head in my hands. If I can feel myself breaking out into a sweat, particularly from my underarms, and if I give off a noticeable body odor that even I can smell, I know the writing is going well.