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

The Voice of the Turtle, essay 3 of #52essays2017

2:10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 2:11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 2:12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 2:13 The… Read more

What I See/Saw I: Hallucinations (Essay 2 of #52essays2017)

I am blind, but that does not mean I live in darkness, and I’m not just talking metaphor here. These days the visionscape confronting me sparkles and undulates, with greater or lesser intensity, constantly, veiling the world beyond with simple and complex hallucinations. The brilliance of my visionscape is not less intense in a dark room than in a brilliant… Read more

In the Beginning Were the Eye Doctors, essay 1 of #52essays2017

Before the base closed to make way for the National Park, Lucasfilm, and the Thoreau Center, my mother and I drove regularly through the Presidio to buy cheap groceries at the commissary or to the Letterman Army Medical Center for visits to the pediatricians and then many eye doctors. My dad was in the military, and as a dependent, I… Read more

Nietzsche and His Pain Named Dog, #52essays2017

I have given a name to my pain and call it “dog.” It is just as faithful, just as obtrusive and shameless, just as entertaining, just as clever as any other dog–and I can scold it and vent my bad mood on it, as others do with their dogs, servants, and wives. –Nietzsche, The Gay Science. I first heard this… Read more