I read once that smell more than any of our senses touches our emotions. Real estate agents know this and will place on simmer a pan of water with a stick of cinnamon in a house they are showing. Or they’ll put a sheet of cookies in the oven. Nothing makes a house feel like home more than the aroma of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.
I thought about this as I held my two-week-old grandson, Drew, Thursday night and buried my face in his neck. I breathed deeply of his scent. What exactly is it? Shampoo, their breath, spit up, laundry soap? The grandpa on Everybody Loves Raymond used to smell his grandchildren, saying it was the sweet scent of youth.
Whatever the source of that unique odor, the emotions that welled up in me as I cuddled Drew will last a lifetime. I think the smell of a baby is the scent of love.
Most writers forget to use the sense of smell when describing a setting. They are quick to add physical descriptions, maybe even sounds, but few go that extra mile and describe the aromas in their scenes. Add this dimension and you’ll engage the readers’ emotions fully.