Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sensory Triggers

Photo_072308_001 Mary Biddinger writes in her blog Word Cage about sensory triggers. Those things that set off a particular behavior or thought by recreating a past experience.  Isn't it true that the best poems usually are able to take us to experiences that that we are able to relate to; that by the poets very words we can suddenly taste Grandma's apple pie or feel the warmth of the fireplace against our face  on a cold November night, while smelling the oak log burn and sipping hot chocolate? Words properly chosen have the power to transport us to another time and bring alive real experiences of the past.

So I sit here this evening thinking of things that I would consider sensory triggers I can relate to.

  • The smell of cut grass takes me to a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. The warm sun beating down on the green field.
  • When I feel the lawnmower with gas it takes me back to when I was a kid and my Grandmother would stop for gas. Those were pre air conditioning days and with the windows down it aroma of gasoline was particularly sweet and strong.  I always am transported back to that little filling station in town and still see the sign reading 34 cents a gallon.
  • The feel of those wood spoons you get with Frosty Malts feel like rough, dry tongue depressors in the doctor's office and make me want to cough.
  • When I'm handling something that tends to dry my hand out a lot, I am suddenly on an out of town trip, headed home to Kansas City, along the roadside changing a flat.

Those are just a few things that come to my mind.  There are lots of music triggers that take me back to the sixties, seventies and eighties. Events and places.

I think I should spend the next week listing such triggers in my journal. 

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