Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Writing Prompt: Sense of Smell and Memories

Honeysuckle FlowerI was taking a brisk walk last night when I smelled the perfume of honeysuckle wafting by on an itinerant breeze.

A flood of memories assailed me.

I was struck with the image of my teenaged self driving too fast along twisting rural roads, music blasting, windows rolled all the way down, honeysuckle scent barreling into the car through windows and vents, bathing everything in its sweet odor.

I was reminded of hot summer evenings, deck-sitting, waiting for the elusive breeze, and with it the tantalizingly sweet smell of honeysuckle.

I remembered visiting my aunt’s house with the steep hill on the front of the property covered in honeysuckle, and sitting in that patch — flowers up to my ears — with laughing cousins and siblings, all of us telling jokes and sucking on honeysuckle flowers.

Wow! It’s no wonder scientists say that our sense of smell is the strongest link with our memories.

What are you reminded of with a particular aroma?

Here’s Your Prompt: Conjure up some scents!

Take a sniff from a perfume or cologne bottle you haven’t worn in a while. (If you don’t have one at home, check out the perfume counter at a department store, or the personal aisle in drug store for shampoo or hairspray or lotion…)

Take a walk in a bakery or florist. Or a leather goods shop. Or the beach.


Create your own memories by lighting a fire or candle, or baking one of your grandmother’s recipes in the oven.

What memories do these smells evoke?

Write a memoir, an essay a journal entry or a poem.

6 comments to Writing Prompt: Sense of Smell and Memories

  • Cori B

    Janelle and I stop roadside and pick some when we get a whiff of honeysuckle. I hope it is a memory that sticks with her too.

    • I’ve never picked any honeysuckle… does it perfume the entire house? (I’d never picked any Lilly of the Valley until this summer, and I couldn’t believe how fragrant they are inside a home!)

  • Gayle G.

    I absolutely love the smell of honeysuckle. It brings back wonderful childhood memories.

  • Hi Gayle: Me, too! I wish I could bottle the stuff and have it around me all year round. 🙂

  • Dottie R.

    Ahhh….the sweet scent of honeysuckle. It reminds me of the lazy summer days of my childhood when the kids in the neighborhood left their houses just after breakfast ready for a day of exploring. A honeysuckle bush sidetracked us quicker than anything. We’d hover around the bush, reach for the yellow flowers and our tiny fingers plucked the green nub of the stem and gently pulled exposing the glistening droplet of nectar. Parenting in this age of less exploring and more video gaming, I’ve always felt an urgent responsibility to teach my three children the delicate art of harvesting honeysuckle nectar – and they have!

    • Hi Dottie! What a fun picture you paint! I can just imagine a group of kids getting ‘sidetracked’ by honeysuckle.

      (I can smell it now, coming through the window… alas, won’t be much longer until it fades for the year…)

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