An Everyday Epiphany


On a campaign, dreams and an old metaphysical adage

For all that I consider myself a wordsmith, sometimes words utterly fail me. Try as I might, no matter what thesaurus, volume of poetry, or aspirational novel I haul out of my collection or my memory, I just can’t find the words no matter what I do. Somehow, they all seem such clichés, such trite statements of trivial declaration that I simply have to give up the ghost and resign myself to the fact that mere words will never be able to contain the scope of whatever it is I’m trying to convey, and leave it at that.

When that happens, it means I’ve only forgotten that other important thing about writing: you don’t find the right words so much as they find you.

In the astonishing year of amazing events that 2013 has proved for me so far, this was brought home to me in no uncertain terms when I launched the campaign to keep this blog going, because no matter what I do, I somehow can’t escape that urge to ‘capture the muse as she flies’, as William Blake once put it, to capture with words what stories a perfume will breathe alive on my skin, in my mind, in the words I use to describe and evoke it.

The simple act of reviewing a perfume (I use that term advisedly) satisfies some literary inclination and writer’s itch in a manner no other writing quite does, and provides an outlet for all those aesthetic inclinations I can’t place anywhere else in my life. It is also without question the hardest writing I ever do.

But most important of all, it connects with other people, people who think as I do, feel as I do about that ephemeral art that is perfume, an art that far transcends ‘smells good’, ‘wafts sexy’ or ‘stinks’. Let those sorry souls who deem themselves beyond such trifles and vanities sneer in derision and think what they will about us and our consuming passion – we know a kind of transport and sensory experience unlike any other, and explore it, exchange it, explain it and share it.

Once upon a storied time in a Skype conversation, I told a justly celebrated rock star of the perfume world and an eminently acclaimed writer herself:

All good things in my life have come through writing about the art of perfume.

The events of this past week have proved beyond any doubts I ever had just how true and prescient that statement is.

Because dear readers, this alembicated genie, this small, singular, idiosyncratic voice among the multitudes of Planet Perfume, shall happily continue along that primrose path to perdition!

I reached my goal before the campaign deadline.

The Genie was saved, and all because of – and most emphatically! – thanks to you.

This early Saturday August morning of a perfect blue sky, the sun shines down upon yours truly, typing away on a gently used and souped-up MacBook Pro that does everything I could possibly ask it to do, contains everything I need to do it with, and will take the writer and passionate purple perfume prose aficionado to the next level of setting the world alight with my words.

You – my readers, my friends, my colleagues in fragrant phrasing – made that happen.

Those two small throwaway words ‘thank’ and ‘you’ seem much, much too concise and limited for what I’m trying to say here.

If I ever doubted (as a writer, I always, always do) my significance as a perfume writer, if I ever wondered about that unbearable lightness of my existence, if I ever, ever catch myself considering to just give up the ghost and to Hades with it all, all ambition, all aspirations and hopes be damned, I’ll look to that one event to remind me that readers out there, readers just like me, readers who love what I love and share that love and those connections, have made everything not just possible or even probable but happening, right this very minute…

I turn to another perpetual favorite writer of mine who shared a few preoccupations and wrenched these words right out of my mind and my purpose.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.  – John Milton

As indeed all of you did, and so, my world and my experience was changed… forever.

Thank YOU.

And that metaphysical adage?

Be careful what you wish for. You will get it! 



Image: ‘Overflowing Heart’ by Thadius33 on DeviantArt.

32 thoughts on “An Everyday Epiphany

    1. Darling Portia – it looks very much as if there might be far more – and mightier, I can hope – magic in store! It makes me happier than you know to say you have no small part in that! xo

      1. “Be careful what you wish for” I wish you all good dreams come true, only positive repercussions, good health to enjoy it all. There you go, three wishes from your fave Drag witch and friend.
        Portia xx

  1. Yay, wonderful your new laptop dream come true. Hope that it’ll be a pure pleasure to work with it and that it will give you a light hand for writing.

    And I love the sentence “All the good things in my life have come through writing about the art of perfume” This could be a real life motto.

    1. So far, Lucas, it has indeed been a pleasure! And I dare say there will be many more pleasures to come! 🙂
      As for that sentence – I should convert it into a motto and frame it posthaste!

      1. You’re so sweet!
        You make my return after a Hungarian vacations even nicer.
        Did you vote in my current poll? I’m letting the readers chose a note for a themed week.

  2. I’m in a Blakeian mood so ‘Capture the muse as she flies’ captured my attention – and my heart :), and I love that other commenters are also connecting with lines in your beautiful post.

    Yay, The Alembicated Genie gets to stay!

  3. A huge cheer for The Alembicated Genie!!!! I never doubted that the goal would be met and the new laptop purchased, or that the Genie’s fantastic multicolored prose would continued to be poured out into the universe for all of us to enjoy.

    It’s a cause for celebration when people come together to do something worthwhile, demonstrating that small contributions add up to big accomplishments.

    Big hugs!!!

    1. If I ever had a moment when I was almost overcome, Ellen, you surely just supplied it! Thank YOU – for without you, your wonderful self and incredible work, this perfume writer would never have happened at all! I dare say that calls for some major celebration before this year is over… 🙂 Bear hugs back to you!!!!

  4. Oh, yay! I’m so happy for you, Sheila. I knew that you would make it. And today I will crack a beer open in your honor to celebrate. (Hey, that’s what friends are for, yeah?)


  5. Congratulations, dear Sheila. Your writing and indeed, your personality, are things I will enjoy as long and as much as I can. Like you, writing has given me so many gifts. I look forward to thos gifts to come.

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