I posted about The Dry Down–a newsletter about perfume–a couple of years ago and I’m still enjoying it (I’m enjoying it so much I’m a paying subscriber). Yes, it’s about perfume and I’ve found a couple that I really love through the authors’ guidance, but what I enjoy most is how Rachel Syme and Helena Fitzgerald use writing about perfume as a way to sum up big feelings.
Like this, for example, and fall, which is breathing down our necks:
This time of year is a huge dose of feeling with little recourse to action. Golden leaves are connected to an activity, leaf-peeping, a hideous out-loud term that I learned about in my twenties on the East Coast and couldn’t believe anyone actually said with a straight face. But even this archaic-preppy-bourgeois term is about a kind of longing and nothingness, reaching for something that offers no landing point, no destination toward which the reach can extend. “Let’s go and look at the leaves” is very silly but also kind of sad and poignant. I feel so much and all I can do about it is… drive by some trees?
This empty destination is the crack where capitalism gets in, of course, which is why those of us who love–or just feel something big about–fall often associate it with things we can buy, sweaters and lattes and boots and pencils and soups and produce and decorative gourds. Buying stuff is always there, lurking in the places where we feel too much and don’t know what to do with those feelings.