Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Creating and Perfumer's Block


I don't get it often, that perfumer's block. In fact, I don't believe I've ever really had it. What I get, usually, is perfumer's anxiety. First, is there enough of diluted essence A, B, C, D, E, F and so forth to create this mental masterpiece? Second, if not, are there enough dilution bottles in stock to make them? Third, if so, how the hell long is that going to take? Fourth, four days later, when all these tasks have been completed to fruition, do I have any damned energy left to formulate?

Jesus said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Don't stress on tomorrow because today is stressful enough." (Matthew 6:34)* To me, the reference to "tomorrow" can be fifteen minutes from now, when I'm checking volume levels in dilution bottles and realize I have to "whip up" a few extras. Why trip now? I usually call this procrastination. To defer action. To put off till another day or time. To borrow another phrase, this time from the venerable Nike, "Just do it!" Like now, man.

So this is how this creative thing usually goes down: I build a brief or one is handed to me. I think about it. Write notes. Dream on it. Sniff bottles. Write more notes. Write a bit of poetic prose to go along with the brief, to liven it up, give it breath, and then I think about it some more. I talk about it to my peers or someone I don't know while bagging my groceries at Winco. I discuss it with the Jehovah's Witnesses who come to my door every other Tuesday at 9:30 am sharp. We make trades. I hand them scent strips and they hand me The Watchtower.

I converse with my mother's ass as she's face down in her garden pulling weeds on the delicate issues of champaca golden vs. davana or magnolia. "Patchouli essential oil or absolute, mom?" I ask after explaining their differences. Her ass does not reply.

"Mom?"

She lifts her head from the weeds and says, "When are you taking that damned mimosa tree? Every time I look at it, I just want to weed whack it." Her anger toward mimosa's fragile flowers falling on her carefully manicured lawn shows in a flash. She continues pulling at the weeds. I do not get my answer.

I speak about the newly born (in my head) perfume with my daughter, sharing scent strips drenched in heart notes. "How is this?" I ask. "Smells like pickles," she replies. And I remember that this is her patent answer for every scent strip thrust under her nose. In teen-talk it means, "Leave me alone. I'm not the least bit interested in your hobby."

I chase down my grown live-in son, the perfume whore, in hopes of finding a partner in crime. "How's this?" I ask, spritzing his arm as he cringes.

"'S' okay," he says, noncommittally.

"Okay good or 'just' okay?"

"It's okay. Now will you get out of the bathroom? I have to wipe my butt."

So after all this research, writing, and trial formulating, I finally have it. The finished fantastic product. Three years after I started.


Whimsicality ~ this has been running through my brain for days now . . .

*The real verse in King James reads: Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

6 comments:

  1. J, I feel your pain, lol. It is difficult for me to find anyone close in vicinity who "cares" as much as I do. Off to take a look at what product you could be talking about.

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  2. Anonymous5:02 AM

    you made me laugh, thinking that you probably wouldn't want your mother's ass to reply in any way.

    congratulations on getting through, despite the apparent lack of interest from your support team! keep on keeping on:-)

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

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  3. Hey Melis, I'm truly sorry you too feel the pain of perfumer's isolation. We should start a support group :)

    Perfumers In Creative Crisis ~ PICC

    Thanks for the comment :)

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  4. Hi Anna,

    Happy to have made you laugh. And you're right, my mom's ass responding probably would have been much more traumatizing than being ignored by her -- and her ass.

    Thanks for commenting :)

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  5. EMPTY your senses :) make room for new adventures :)

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  6. Yay! I'm an inaugural member of the PICC tribe. :)

    I just keep creating. My "sniffers" are two little guys aged 8&6. I do believe that they give honest feedback. They haven't developed a "filter" yet, lol. Prime example, yesterday I applied a patchouli balm prior to going out for breakfast with the family. While eating, the six year old says "Mommy, what's that stinky smell?" I say "Um, probably mommy" and let him sniff my arm. He looks at me innocently and says "Oh." Lol! THIS from a kid that normally likes "patchouwee" but he prefers it with florals not straight.

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