Engaging my senses

I took this weekend off – well, to be honest, it wasn’t voluntary; I’ve been feeling out of control of my life a bit, what with things changing and my temporary housing situation, so I really wanted to cling onto my project as the one thing I felt like I could actually exert my control over.  But Jake, in his infinite wisdom, told me I should take a couple of days off and take in some material instead of trying to output it again right away.  He was right, of course.

Ignoring my project, except when I was inevitably reminded of it, was rather difficult. At first, everything I was watching, seeing, doing, smelling, etc. had everything to do with AGGO and I felt like I couldn’t turn my brain off. Finally I got to the point where I was actually ignoring it, and I did take in quite a few useful pieces of media and experience, including:

  • A bit of Viewing #3 of HIMYM
  • Hand-sewing a shirt design that I created
  • Paddling around on a crystal-clear prehistoric lake at night (it was as cool as it sounds)
  • Reading a book called “The Accidental Creative”
  • Reading a Star Wars book
  • Watching Jake play SW:TOR
  • Playing some Oblivion

And now I’m thinking what I need to focus on is taking in new sensory experiences, no matter how unrelated to my project.

Weird? Not really. Sensory details are one of my strengths, and though I’ve spent several months’ worth of solid time in a desert environment, I want as many sensory details and experiences as possible to bring my book to life.  It’s a story for which my readers are going to need to suspend their disbelief, and I would like to inject as much realism as possible into it so they don’t feel cheated.

So I’m going to start with the sense of smell.  To this end, I will:

  • Walk by restaurants that make unusual or aromatic dishes
  • Sniff all the shampoos, lotions, and other yummy-smelling products I can find
  • Really stop to smell my food before I eat it
  • Try to identify city smells when I’m wandering around downtown

If you spot a girl in a sweatshirt and cap (I’ve taken to always wearing a hat, my hair is at that super awkward length) wandering around downtown Seattle sniffing the air like a dog, it’s probably me.