"Everyone is chain-smoking. The windows are always closed. The walls had wood paneling, which soaks things up. They’re all drunk; they’re all drinking. You somehow know that’s not the only time Freddy Rumsen peed in there. And in those days, ladies wore perfume as a matter of course, the same way they wore constricting and terrible undergarments. BUT, every single one of those perfumes, by contemporary standards, was REALLY big, and REALLY obtrusive. Stuff we now think of as extremely difficult and weird, stuff most people will not wear because it frankly offends them — birch tar; civet (which is the nicest way anyone’s ever managed to say “catshit”); real oakmoss, real patchouli; the burnt-tallow kind of aldehyde, the ball-sweat-Crisco-and-sugar kind of musk — well, that was just how perfume smelled. Joan wears Shalimar. Because of course Joan wears Shalimar.* But imagine every female person, in an enclosed space, smelling exactly as strong as Shalimar. But also different from each other. In an office that Freddy Rumsen peed on. While everyone poured liquor, and smoked."
Joy: An Entirely Frivolous Blog About Smells: Smoking, Animal Smells, and Perfume Evil
Just reread this to cheer myself up on a gray day in an office that smells of armpit bagel. Sady Doyle Describing Anything is great, but Sady Doyle Describing Smells is HEAVEN.
”Ball-sweat-Crisco-and-sugar kind of musk” !!!
"Who cares, when you’ve lost everything, what “everything” was? Or whether someone else lost a different everything, at some point in time? When has that ever actually mattered, to anyone? Yes, it’s true, my entire family was killed yesterday in a plane crash. However, I immediately turned to browsing these accounts of notable war atrocities, as one does, and have decided their various untimely deaths were actually not that bad! When, in the history of human tragedy, has that line of reasoning ever worked? It doesn’t matter, when you lose everything, what you had before you lost it. What matters is that you lost it, and that it was all you had."
Emily Books: No Hierarchy of Pain
by Sady Doyle
"Becoming a writer, in Inferno, does not mean becoming less of an outsider. It means gaining the freedom to stay outside. For Eileen, it means being able to read the books, to learn without going broke, to pursue what she loves with her whole self, and not just the worn-down, sleepy scraps designated “spare time.” It means not having to fuck men for money or advantage; it means coming out, falling in love with women, fucking women, because that’s what she wants to do. It means being able to value what she feels, and what she experiences. It means breaking through: Claiming a value for herself that is something more than economic, being a creature of thought and feeling and unfeigned, whole desire."
Emily Books: Standing in the Goods by Sady Doyle