You may recall that I've wanted to create a smell thesaurus for a while but due to lack of interest I've not made much progress. Whether it's because I'm too lazy or just too busy with other things, I'll never know, but several months ago I received this email.
I read your blog about smells in writing, it was really interesting. I've always had an excellent ability to smell and takes me back to places and people.
The reason I am writing to you is because my 4 year old son was born without olfactory bulbs and has complete anosmia. He has absolutely no idea what anyone is talking about when it comes to smell, it makes me very sad because he's missing out on a whole world of experiences. His memory is absolutely amazing and is photographic I believe. He remembers details to buildings he saw a year ago. who worked there. etc. Things that I wouldn't notice...
Do you know how in which way I can describe to him what smell is? I never realized until now how many times a day I mention a smell. He has amazing language skills but is lost in social skills and it looks like he's missing something...I wonder if this social issue has something to do with his complete inability to smell. Maybe if I can explain to him in an appropriate way he could understand what this is? But I have no idea how to go about explaining a simple smell since he has nothing to compare it to.
And are there other senses that can be heightened if there is no ability to smell?
So, what do you think?
How would you describe smell, any smell, the ability to smell, to someone who never smelled anything?