4 December – Using common scents

oranges advent 4

Oranges, cloves, cinnamon.  What do those scents evoke for you?  Write for two minutes.  Now, stop.

Go peel and eat an orange, or find that jar of cinnamon or cloves from the spice cabinet.  Inhale the aromas.

Pick up your pen and write again.  Notice any difference?

How does this writing prompt advent calendar work?
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6 Responses to 4 December – Using common scents

  1. Donna says:

    Ten years ago, oranges were about the meal of eating a navel orange. The squirting when peel is eased off and big, juicy segments. I love the little baby ones inside below the navel spot!

    By last year oranges had become a quest for the right ones for Angus, a connoisseur of oranges, to eat. And cinnamon was completely wrapped up with the shared making of Snickerdoodles, Arran’s favourite biscuit.

    Now Matilda has taught me to dissect what I eat. Oranges have placentas and not all cinnamon is equal. I, like many, may never have eaten true cinnamon.

    These are scents that often do come together at Christmas but have a strong presence in our house all year.

    But cloves still produce the same deep, rich, overpowering scent that has wafted through centuries of goings on, adding darkness and danger. To be used sparingly!

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    • Melissa says:

      Earlier this year I thought I had sussed out the difference between clementines and satsumas, but now the distinction escapes. Cloves and danger – yes. They even look like small wooden daggers.

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  2. suki60 says:

    Yesterday I was a Tudor widow for the morning: a rather oddly-dressed one, to be sure, and with my trousers tucked into my boots under by skirts to keep me warm, but I enjoyed my role. ‘Master Philip’ was at my daughter’s school to give the children an insight into life-crafts in his manor house on the day of Elizabeth I’s coronation. I was appointed as Advisor on the Making of Scented Twysts. (Which is where the cloves and cinnamon come in.) Five mystified ten-year-olds came to my table each time, to choose some herbs to grind up, with little mortars into little pestles, and to bind them up into pretty little muslin bags. I kept giving them unwanted advice about what to include to cure their various possible ailments: it was good fun! The boys went for cloves, the girls for cinnamon, neither of were very grindable …

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  3. Melissa says:

    Each time I do this prompt, a different memory arises. This time, the oranges made me think of a writing teacher I had when I did my teacher education course. On the night when we had our ‘writing celebration’ and everyone read something they had worked on during the term, she brought a small box of clementines, cranberry nut bread, and spiced cider for everyone to share. This was one of my favorite classes during that whole year. In many respects, I think the way I approach teaching writing is shaped very much by her, her kindness, and how she managed to get wonderful stories out of each of us.

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  4. Mum says her father bought an orange for each child as a special gift, this was between the wars, now they are bagged up in red nets for everyday eating, and parades of plastic bottles and cartons are full of their juice. I say there was always a satsuma or two in the bottom of of the longest socks we could find the night before. They were juggled and eaten before breakfast, the unbroken peel discarded by the collection of misshapen nuts that we couldn’t crack. Now, I favour clementines.

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