Writing is a solitary profession and taking a break from sitting at my computer is important to me. I like to walk. Every day I walk through a park on my way to the beach, smelling the flowers, enjoying the shade of the trees and listening to the birds singing.
One bird in particular captured my attention. He doesn’t sing better than the others, he’s not prettier, and he doesn’t fly in a soaring pattern. But we’ve formed a bond, Uccello and me.
Watch a short clip of the view from my window in Venice, Italy.
Seeing Uccello every day takes me back to Venice and reminds me of the evocative perfume I inhaled there.
I learned to recognize Uccello from the other birds, little things about the charcoal grey bird that caught my eye. He has a little white belly that wiggles when he preens himself like a de’ Medici grand duke and his chirping is short and musical like breathy notes on a flute. He follows me through the park, flitting from one perch to another, poking his head around to see if I’m dallying.
I’ve gotten to know his idiosyncrasies, like how he chirps twice when he sees me, then how he likes to show me what path to take by flying in front of me. The park has many winding pathways and I look forward to seeing where he’ll lead me on my walk each day.
To me, a novel is like Uccello. Something about it attracts your eye–it could be the title or the cover–you get closer, open up the book and it takes you on a journey. As you follow its winding paths, you breathe in its uniqueness. That’s part of the fun for me. I like to inhale the scent of the story.
It’s not something you can smell in a physical way, but it evokes an odoriferous response in you that makes you aware of the scents the author has created in their world, whether it’s fragrant roses, the salty sea, cinnamon, oil, pine cones, or the smell of sex.
The next time you read a novel, think about what you smell. It may surprise you.