Don’t get me wrong. This is not going to be an exposition on an ancient art of instant gratification. I am instead allowing you to peek into the world of a crazed bibliophile.
This ‘attachment’ that I speak of can sometimes transcend the mere appreciation of words and find the subject allowing her sense of smell to explore what lies not between the lines but between the pages.
This is what happened on a muggy afternoon…
The discoveries made were startling, sometimes unexplained and only rarely predictable.
Don’t you think its only fair that Pearl S. Buck’s ‘The Good Earth’ smelt of rice.
Or that Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Istanbul’ reminded the smeller (if there ever was one) of a land far away, never visited.
But would anyone think that ‘Dog Years’, that chaotically poetic Gunter Grass work that tells of a world gone mad, could smell pleasant.
Or that the two part autobiography of a dictator (Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’) could remind one’s nose of fresh flowers on a spring morning.
(and the irony of it all that I should speak of Grass and Hitler almost in the same breath).
What do you think Franz Kafka’s ‘Diaries’ smelt of? Existential angst? Perhaps that is the best and the only way to describe it.
And how about Somerset Maugham’s ‘Of Human Bondage’? Well, it smelt sweet, something the author could not have imagined, much less intended.
And what happened when one tried to capture the scent of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’?
Nothing. No fresh flowers, wet earth or English summer. In fact, there was no scent at all!
It was most unusual that the smell from the pages of Hermann Hesse’s ‘Steppenwolf’ took one back to the library in a convent not visited for over fifteen years.
Equally interesting was the discovery that Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’, the unabashed ode to ‘individualism’, actually smells of ashes.
Finally (deciding to leave many others in the wake), it was time to discover what senses Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ would awaken. It most certainly did not remind one of the scent of bitter almonds. Instead, it was an indescribable smell.
One could not relate it to anything…only fitting, for perhaps it smelt of that indescribable feeling…love.
That an afternoon could have been spent thus is proof of the fact that attachment of this nature is only half explored through the eyes and the mind.
There are countless associations waiting to be made by calling into play other senses…
…but it is only possible if you’re inclined enough to disregard modes of ‘normal’ behaviour.
P.S.: In case you haven’t noticed, I’m participating in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Read all about it here: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
We begin today with the letter ‘A’ for Afternoon. Stay tuned, in April and beyond.