Saturday, January 12, 2008

Working the Bones of a Perfume

Before I begin making a perfume, I usually have a pretty good idea where I'm going with it. Who, or what, imaginary or real, am I making this about? Not for. About. Is it a man or a woman whose story I'm going to tell? The story of a lover? A father? An intriguing fire-haired woman? Or is it a place? A rustic cabin in the mountains of Northern California? Or is it about the fierce summer winds that blow down through the coolies and ravines at the base of the Bear Tooth Mountains in Montana?

Whoever, or whatever, the perfume is about begins the fantasy.

Sometimes I get so tangled up in the blending that I lose sight, momentarily, of that fantasy, and I find that I'm lost somewhere else in the scent -- not the mountains, but the sea; not the forest, but the desert. The perfume can turn in another direction and go from he to she or water to earth at a drop. It has to be worked out, redone, but the lesson is learned. Blending this with that and that gives me water. Okay. File it away and save it for the next fantasy that is in want of water.

This is the work, which is also a fantasy. The alchemist turning raw materials into something golden.

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