O is for Odors

Welcome to my 2020 Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Each day, I will post a brief Journal On! Daily Writers’ Workshops lesson and prompt. Teachers, parents, and students may use the material to encourage daily writing practice, spark insight, and embrace mindful reflection.   


photo by Pixabay

What’s that smell?

Odors silently surround us and carry an abundance of information and memory. Sadly, our olfactory system is not as developed as many animals. We can’t track one person by smelling his sock or sniff out bugs or explosives. The sense of smell is closely associated with taste (we had explored that in L is for Lollipops). Smell and taste share many descriptive words like sweet, sour, and yukky.  Odors spark clear memories and take us back to familiar places and people. For instance, sometimes, when I smell a freshly picked tomato, I am back in my great-grandmother’s tiny garden in Brooklyn, where she would snap a tomato leaf and make me smell the growth and promise of delicious fruit.

Let’s explorer odors in our journals. 

  1. Primary Prompt: Think about the smell of the kitchen when your favorite food is cooking. Is it pizza, bread, meatballs, cookies?  Draw you and your mom or dad or perhaps your big sister or brother cooking or baking. Include the ingredients on your counter. Add those facial expressions. Label the items on your picture. Write sentences about the luscious odors.
  2. Intermediate Prompt: Go on an odor hunt either outside or a room in your home. List the odors you smell like freshly mowed grass, dirt, a cedar chip in your closet, or rotten spinach in the refrigerator. Write a sentence about each odor, such as The socks under my bed smell like dirty feet.
  3. Upper-Intermediate Prompt: Choose an item in your home. It can be a bar soap, folded laundry, a freshly opened box of Girl Scout cookies, or dog food. Smell. What does the odor remind you of? What makes the smell pleasant or yucky? Write a memory or impression of this odor.

Until tomorrow, Everyone.



Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

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4 thoughts

  1. Every time I smell oranges, it transports me back to my grandparents park in Florida but not for the reasons you’d expect. While oranges were plentiful and filled the air in Florida, it also happened that they used an orange scented shampoo. They didn’t have a shower in their trailer, but we would use the showers in the community pool area and to this day when I smell oranges it brings me back to that moment in time. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Odours are strong inducers of memory trails for me. I like the image of your great grandmother’s: snapping and smelling the tomato leaf. I do that to plants in my garden:)

    Liked by 1 person

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