I had seen how in an instant, those you called friends could suddenly become tormentors, sniffing out a weakness or a difference, turning their own fear of ostracism into a weapon with which they could beat the victim away, afraid that being an outsider, and individual even, was somehow infectious.
I had at one point this rather depressing image of some alien culture seeing the death of this planet - coming down in their spaceships and sniffing around; finding all our skeletons sitting around our TV sets and trying to work out why our end came before its time and they come to the conclusion that we amused ourselves to death..
He picked up one of Lorna's roses and set it in my lap. "Here." I picked it up and smelled it. He poked me in the shoulder. "See what I mean? Thorns don't stop you from sniffing. Or putting them in a vase on the kitchen table. You work around them... Cause the rose is worth it... Think what you'd miss.
Grover was sniffing the wind, looking nervous. He fished out his acorns and threw them into the sand, then played his pipes. They rearranged themselves in a pattern that made no sense to me, but Grover looked concerned. "That's us, " he said. "Those five nuts right there." "Which one is me?" I asked. "The little deformed one, " Zoe suggested. "Oh, shut up.
Grover was sniffing the wind, looking nervous. He fished out his acorns and threw them into the sand, then played his pipes. They rearranged themselves in a pattern that made no sense to me, but Grover looked concerned. "That's us," he said. "Those five nuts right there." "Which one is me?" I asked. "The little deformed one," Zoe suggested. "Oh, shut up.
A book is really like a lover. It arranges itself in your life in a way that is beautiful. Even as a kid, my sister, who was the eldest, brought books home for me, and I think I spent more time sniffing and touching them than reading. I just remember the joy of the book, the beauty of the binding. The smelling of the interior. Happy.
After 'cat', Lilah next learned 'flower'. Flowers (scrunch up nose as if sniffing) were everywhere, first only outside on plants, but soon she generalized to flowers on her clothes or her shoes, or in pictures in books and magazines. I wanted to hook up wires and do experiments and comparisons and studies to understand it all. 'You want to do what?' Diane would say. But really, who wouldn't?
I came across a photograph of him not long ago... his black face, the long snout sniffing at something in the air, his tail straight and pointing, his eyes flashing in some momentary excitement. Looking at a faded photograph taken more than forty years before, even as a grown man, I would admit I still missed him.
The subjects range from the pastoral (sniffing of the butt of a melon to tell if it's ripe. and almost romantically lush descriptions of lightening storms sweeping across fields on summer nights) to elaborations on the value of man's having a life of his own, apart from whatever life he has with his family, a private life that no one knows anything about, "a place he can be himself without concern of disappointment or rejection".
The Brit's face shares a heritage with a junkyard butt-sniffing mutt. It's a hard-earned moonshine mug, dotted with a hairy mole that looks like a rat's been gnawing on it. His beard looks like a white sneeze. The teeth are jagged and out of alignment, having opened quarts at Jiffy Quick Lube for half a decade.
There is this persistent theme in all of these notions that death is made more easy, whatever that means, if you've learned the territory before you get there. And you know, in the Mahayana Buddhist situation it even becomes as extreme as saying; 'life is essentially a preparation for death, a studying of the maps of a learning of the skills a packing of your picnic basket so that when you get out there and demons are sniffing you up one side and down the other you don't bungle your mantras'.
A word that turns up in TNR's literary pieces is 'tasteless. ' They use it in the same way you might reprove a toilet joke at the dinner table or around relatives. But with them it takes on moral weight. It's a very damaging mistake: the idea that sniffing out the tasteless is the same as taste itself. It confuses censoriousness with a faculty of judgment that links the aesthetic to the moral sense.
n+ 1 Magazine
Imagine someone sitting alone in a room without television, radio, computer or phone and with the door closed and the blinds down. This person must be a dangerous lunatic or a prisoner sentenced to solitary confinement. If a free agent, then a panty-sniffing loser shunned by society, or a psycho planning to return to college with an automatic weapon and a backpack full of ammo.
I marvel again at the nakedness of men's lives: the showers right out in the open, the body exposed for inspection and comparison, the public display of privates. What is it for? What purposes of reassurance does it serve? The flashing of a badge, look, everyone, all is in order, I belong here. Why don't women have to prove to one another that they are women? Some form of unbuttoning, some split-crotch routine, just as casual. A doglike sniffing.
Just as the historian can teach no real history until he has cured his readers of the romantic delusion that the greatness of a queen consists in her being a pretty woman and having her head cut off, so the playwright of the first order can do nothing with his audience until he has cured them of looking at the stage through the keyhole, and sniffing round the theatre as prurient people sniff round the divorce court.
George Bernard Shaw
He paused in the hallway, sniffing the air. He scowled, sniffed some more. He pressed an intercom button on the wall. "Betty, I distinctly smell sewage. Could you get a plumber out here ASAP?" Several curly hairs fluttered in the air after he was gone. I clutched at the arm of the dentist chair. "This isn't a joke, Tub! I'm in trouble. We're all in trouble, the whole town, the whole world! You have no clue. You have no idea what kind of things we're dealing with here. There's a whole land of -
Guillermo del Toro
Besides, Fi was convinced that instinct could determine a body's literary needs, just as physical cravings pointed to dietary shortfalls. She'd experienced it herself more than once among the library's dense shelves; not knowing what she should read next, she'd wandered, sniffing slightly, palms open. When intuition hit, she felt a sensation she couldn't describe exactly: her hands seemed to know where to go. And when she reached, invariably she found exactly the book she needed at that moment - sometimes fiction, sometimes biography, sometimes a slim volume of obscure poetry
in a middle of a room stands a suicide sniffing a Paper rose smiling to a self "somewhere it is Spring and sometimes people are in real:imagine somewhere real flowers,but I can't imagine real flowers for if I could,they would somehow not Be real" (so he smiles smiling)"but I will not everywhere be real to you in a moment" The is blond with small hands "& everything is easier than I had guessed everything would be;even remembering the way who looked at whom first,anyhow dancing
e. e. cummings
Pearl was hurring around my apartment, sniffing everything, including Rich Beaumont and Patty Giacomin, which neither of them like much. "Can you get Pearl to settle down?" Paul asked. "I could speak to her, but she'd continue to do what she wants, and I'd look ineffectual. My approach is to endorse everything she does." Susan said, "Come here, Pearl." And Pearl went over to her, and Susan gave her a kiss on the mouth, and Pearl wagged her tail; and lapped Susan's face, and turned and went back and sniffed at Patty.
Robert B. Parker
The regime of control tightens inexorably in our schools, many of which now have video cameras, police patrols, chain-link fences, random unannounced locker searches, metal detectors, drug-sniffing dogs, networks of informants, undercover police posing as students, and a comprehensive system of passes so that there is a record of each student's authorized whereabouts at all times. What a perfect preparation for life in a prison or a totalitarian society!
All night, after the exhausting games of canasta, we would look over the immense sea, full of white-flecked and green reflections, the two of us leaning side by side on the railing, each of us far away, flying in his own aircraft to the stratospheric regions of his own dreams. There we understood that our vocation, our true vocation, was to move for eternity along the roads and seas of the world. Always curious, looking into everything that came before our eyes, sniffing out each corner but only ever faintly-not setting down roots in any land or staying long enough to see the substratum of things the outer limits would suffice.
Ernesto Che Guevara
At night, after the exhausting games of canasta, we would look out over the immense sea, full of white-flecked and green reflections, the two of us leaning side by side on the railing, each of us far away, flying in his own aircraft to the stratospheric regions of our own dreams. There we understood that our vocation, our true vocation, was to move for eternity along the roads and seas of the world. Always curious, looking into everything that came before our eyes, sniffing out each corner but only ever faintly - not setting down roots in any land or staying long enough to see the substratum of things; the outer limits would suffice.
Ernesto Che Guevara
The value the world sets upon motives is often grossly unjust and inaccurate. Consider, for example, two of them: mere insatiable curiosity and the desire to do good. The latter is put high above the former, and yet it is the former that moves one of the most useful men the human race has yet produced: the scientific investigator. What actually urges him on is not some brummagem idea of Service, but a boundless, almost pathological thirst to penetrate the unknown, to uncover the secret, to find out what has not been found out before. His prototype is not the liberator releasing slaves, the good Samaritan lifting up the fallen, but a dog sniffing tremendously at an infinite series of rat-holes.
Ah, this delicious night air, ' she said, luxuriously sniffing in the coolness. 'Night air and gardening are the great tonics. There is nothing so stimulating as bare contact with rich mother earth. You are never so fresh as when you have been grubbing in the soil - black hands, black nails, and boots covered with mud.' She gave her great jovial laugh. 'I'm a glutton for air and earth, ' she said. 'Positively I look forward to death, for then I shall be buried and have the kind earth all round me. No leaden caskets for me - I have given explicit directions. But what shall I do about air? Well, I suppose one can't have everything.' ("Mrs. Amworth")
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets. Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps. I hunger for your sleek laugh, your hands the color of a savage harvest, hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails, I want to eat your skin like a whole almond. I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body, the sovereign nose of your arrogant face, I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes, and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight, hunting for you, for your hot heart, Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.
Just then a familiar voiced spoke right in to Stephens's ear which startled him as his eyes once again began slowly opening. 'Don't try to move or talk you two, not that you could if you wanted to anyway.' It was Bob inches away from his face and he sounded very different now, his voice was low and threatening and his eyes were unsmiling and cold. 'Very soon you will be gone and there will be no trace of any of you here, or us for that matter.' He felt Bob go through his pockets until eventually he saw that he had pulled his van keys out of his pocket. Stephen looked around for his baby and he could see the others passing a sleeping Rosie clutching Roo and her dummy to the goblin like creatures. They grabbed her with their long thin hands with talon like fingers and then began sniffing her like animals that smelt out the prey. Bob saw him looking at them walking off with Rosie. 'Don't worry Stephen. The sproggers will care for her' Bob told him before letting out a spine shivering sinister laugh.
It was a pretty sight, and a seasonable one, that met their eyes when they flung the door open. In the fore-court, lit by the dim rays of a horn lantern, some eight or ten little field-mice stood in a semicircle, red worsted comforters round their throats, their fore-paws thrust deep into their pockets, their feet jigging for warmth. With bright beady eyes they glanced shyly at each other, sniggering a little, sniffing and applying coat-sleeves a good deal. As the door opened, one of the elder ones that carried the lantern was just saying, "Now then, one, two, three!" and forthwith their shrill little voices uprose on the air, singing one of the old-time carols that their forefathers composed in fields that were fallow and held by frost, or when snow-bound in chimney corners, and handed down to be sung in the miry street to lamp-lit windows at Yule-time.
THE LILIES This morning it was, on the pavement, When that smell hit me again And set the houses reeling. People passed like rain: (The way rain moves and advances over the hills) And it was hot, hot and dank, The smell like animals, strong, but sweet too. What was it? Something I had forgotten. I tried to remember, standing there, Sniffing the air on the pavement. Somehow I thought of flowers. Flowers! That bad smell! I looked: down lanes, past houses- There, behind a hoarding, A rubbish-heap, soft and wet and rotten. Then I remembered: After the rain, on the farm, The vlei that was dry and paler than a stone Suddenly turned wet and green and warm. The green was a clash of music. Dry Africa became a swamp And swamp-birds with long beaks Went humming and flashing over the reeds And cicadas shrilling like a train. I took off my clothes and waded into the water. Under my feet first grass, then mud, Then all squelch and water to my waist. A faint iridescence of decay, The heat swimming over the creeks Where the lilies grew that I wanted: Great lilies, white, with pink streaks That stood to their necks in the water. Armfuls I gathered, working there all day. With the green scum closing round my waist, The little frogs about my legs, And jelly-trails of frog-spawn round the stems. Once I saw a snake, drowsing on a stone, Letting his coils trail into the water. I expect he was glad of rain too After nine moinths of being dry as bark. I don't know why I picked those lilies, Piling them on the grass in heaps, For after an hour they blackened, stank. When I left at dark, Red and sore and stupid from the heat, Happy as if I'd built a town, All over the grass were rank Soft, decaying heaps of lilies And the flies over them like black flies on meat...
I realized I still had my eyes shut. I had shut them when I put my face to the screen, like I was scared to look outside. Now I had to open them. I looked out the window and saw for the first time how the hospital was out in the country. The moon was low in the sky over the pastureland; the face of it was scarred and scuffed where it had just torn up out of the snarl of scrub oak and madrone trees on the horizon. The stars up close to the moon were pale; they got brighter and braver the farther they got out of the circle of light ruled by the giant moon. It called to mind how I noticed the exact same thing when I was off on a hunt with Papa and the uncles and I lay rolled in blankets Grandma had woven, lying off a piece from where the men hunkered around the fire as they passed a quart jar of cactus liquor in a silent circle. I watched that big Oregon prairie moon above me put all the stars around it to shame. I kept awake watching, to see if the moon ever got dimmer or if the stars got brighter, till the dew commenced to drift onto my cheeks and I had to pull a blanket over my head. Something moved on the grounds down beneath my window - cast a long spider of shadow out across the grass as it ran out of sight behind a hedge. When it ran back to where I could get a better look, I saw it was a dog, a young, gangly mongrel slipped off from home to find out about things went on after dark. He was sniffing digger squirrel holes, not with a notion to go digging after one but just to get an idea what they were up to at this hour. He'd run his muzzle down a hole, butt up in the air and tail going, then dash off to another. The moon glistened around him on the wet grass, and when he ran he left tracks like dabs of dark paint spattered across the blue shine of the lawn. Galloping from one particularly interesting hole to the next, he became so took with what was coming off - the moon up there, the night, the breeze full of smells so wild makes a young dog drunk - that he had to lie down on his back and roll. He twisted and thrashed around like a fish, back bowed and belly up, and when he got to his feet and shook himself a spray came off him in the moon like silver scales. He sniffed all the holes over again one quick one, to get the smells down good, then suddenly froze still with one paw lifted and his head tilted, listening. I listened too, but I couldn't hear anything except the popping of the window shade. I listened for a long time. Then, from a long way off, I heard a high, laughing gabble, faint and coming closer. Canada honkers going south for the winter. I remembered all the hunting and belly-crawling I'd ever done trying to kill a honker, and that I never got one. I tried to look where the dog was looking to see if I could find the flock, but it was too dark. The honking came closer and closer till it seemed like they must be flying right through the dorm, right over my head. Then they crossed the moon - a black, weaving necklace, drawn into a V by that lead goose. For an instant that lead goose was right in the center of that circle, bigger than the others, a black cross opening and closing, then he pulled his V out of sight into the sky once more. I listened to them fade away till all I could hear was my memory of the sound.
Despite an icy northeast wind huffing across the bay I sneak out after dark, after my mother falls asleep clutching her leather Bible, and I hike up the rutted road to the frosted meadow to stand in mist, my shoes in muck, and toss my echo against the moss-covered fieldstone corners of the burned-out church where Sunday nights in summer for years Father Thomas, that mad handsome priest, would gather us girls in the basement to dye the rose cotton linen cut-outs that the deacon's daughter, a thin beauty with short white hair and long trim nails, would stitch by hand each folded edge then steam-iron flat so full of starch, stiffening fabric petals, which we silly Sunday school girls curled with quick sharp pulls of a scissor blade, forming clusters of curved petals the younger children assembled with Krazy glue and fuzzy green wire, sometimes adding tissue paper leaves, all of us gladly laboring like factory workers rather than have to color with crayon stubs the robe of Christ again, Christ with his empty hands inviting us to dine, Christ with a shepherd's staff signaling to another flock of puffy lambs, or naked Christ with a drooping head crowned with blackened thorns, and Lord how we laughed later when we went door to door in groups, visiting the old parishioners, the sick and bittersweet, all the near dead, and we dropped our bikes on the perfect lawns of dull neighbors, agnostics we suspected, hawking our handmade linen roses for a donation, bragging how each petal was hand-cut from a pattern drawn by Father Thomas himself, that mad handsome priest, who personally told the Monsignor to go fornicate himself, saying he was a disgruntled altar boy calling home from a phone booth outside a pub in North Dublin, while I sat half-dressed, sniffing incense, giddy and drunk with sacrament wine stains on my panties, whispering my oath of unholy love while wiggling uncomfortably on the mad priest's lap, but God he was beautiful with a fine chiseled chin and perfect teeth and a smile that would melt the Madonna, and God he was kind with a slow gentle touch, never harsh or too quick, and Christ how that crafty devil could draw, imitate a rose petal in perfect outline, his sharp pencil slanted just so, the tip barely touching so that he could sketch and drink, and cough without jerking, without ruining the work, or tearing the tissue paper, thin as a membrane, which like a clean skin arrived fresh each Saturday delivered by the dry cleaners, tucked into the crisp black vestment, wrapped around shirt cardboard, pinned to protect the high collar.