Free associations and our five senses. Try this: wherever you are, something will have a distinctive smell. If not, stick your head out the window, close your eyes and take a whiff, open your refrigerator, or take a trip to a nearby coffee shop. What memories, thoughts, beliefs do the smells conjure for you? If you smell a foul body odor, for instance, you may remember your minister or Grandma saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness!” Someone’s perfume may remind you of a favorite person or a memorable experience. The smell of incense, for instance, always harkens me back to my Muslim upbringing.
1) What do you smell?
2) What does it remind you of or make you think about?
3) Is it a good or bad smell? Why
4) Ramble on about this smell and see what stories – philosophies or insights – emerge.
5) Before you finish this exercise complete this sentence: “The most surprising association of all was…”
Of course, you may do this exercise using any one of your five senses. What did it sound like? What memory did the sound (song?) generate? Have fun with this.
(From the book “Creative Journal Writing” by Stephanie Dowrick)