Origins of “Sludge” in Lady Mary Wroth and Life, Essay 13 of #52essays2017

Almost exactly ten years ago, I had an unfortunate lapse in judgement of the sexual variety, which had at least one terrible consequence and one pretty good one: The terrible shall remain my secret, but the good I happily claim, namely, a song called Sludge, destined for my band gutter & spine. At that time, playing drums and singing in… Read more

Mapping & Mixing the Senses at the Mall of America, Essay 8 of #52essays2017

This is my answer to the Mall of America Writer-in-Residence application question “What would you like to write about during your writer residency? ” which doubles as my #52essays2017, written with all four senses and remembered sight, offering this busy week of state and house-hopping. I will write about beauty with all four senses and remembered sight. What is beautiful… Read more

Adulterated Rose or, The Smell of Regrettable Youth, Essay 7 of #52essays2017

The guy with the hard metal name was beautiful in my degenerate eye. Beautiful with a girlfriend. And a Volkswagen bus. This was around the time of the earthquake of ’89, when the influences of flower power still loomed large in San Francisco. I’d been pining for so long and then he said they’d broken up. We climbed into his… Read more

1984: Late to the Party Again, Essay 6 of #52essays2017

In the year 1984, I was in sixth grade, a scholarship child in a private girl school. The eighth graders were reading George Orwell’s 1984 and had plastered the walls with images of our headmistress that read, “Big Sister is Watching YOU.” We didn’t know what it meant, but we understood that it was witty and smart and that that… Read more

Ylang-Ylang: Calming the Panic of Love & Memory, Essay 5 of #52essays2017

When I first read about ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata), I’d no smell associations, but I was intrigued because it is included in so many aphrodisiac blends. It is both relaxing and stimulating, which is a fabulous combination when you’re trying to get it on. Then I smelled ylang-ylang out of a labeled essential oil bottle, and I realized I’d smelled it… Read more

Hannibal: From Acting to Aromatics, essay 4 of #52essays2017

Two winters ago, I got a call from my agent in LA to tape an audition for Hannibal, and it led me on a journey from stars in my eyes to a brand-new appreciation of smell. I was, as an actor, thoroughly green. I did not even know that for TV/film auditions you sit or stand still with the camera… Read more