August 28th, 2007

So I’ve taken a relaxing vacation, and my August ennui should technically be over but I’m still in a state of olfactory slump. I’m not talking about writer’s block. I’m referring to the worst possible fear of any perfume fanatic – loss of interest. I’m not quite there, don’t worry. I still smell perfumes with (relative) enthusiasm and get (relatively) excited only to have positively nothing to say, most of the time. Please tell me this is temporary. Please assure me in scientific terms it’s some sort of a biological matter (chemical imbalance? smell disorder? dehydration?) that can be easily remedied. Then tell me how exactly it can be done. Has it happened to you? Is it just seasonal? (I’m sure working in a perfume shop doesn’t help as it often leaves me in a state of sensory fatigue). Whatever it is, I want it to go away. Soon.

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  • 1. Gaia  |  August 28th, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    I know the feeling. It happens to me occasionally. I overdose on perfume or lip gloss (or celebrity gossip) to the point I have nothing to say about them. I try not to let it happen all at once, but sometimes it just does.

    My fix: Doing something completely different: Reading a good book and cooking a new recipe I’ve never tried before. Doing things without the intention and obligation to write about them. Spending a day in the city (New York, that is) without going into Sephora, Aedes or the other usual suspects is also inspiring.

    I hope your senses come to their senses soon :)

  • 2. Veronica  |  August 29th, 2007 at 12:23 am

    Oh, no! Remember that old saying about the watched pot that never boils ( or something similar)? I cecond Gaia’s advice, do something else and don’t think so much of how to renew your interest. Try not to think about not thinking either :) When it happens to me, I take it as a sign that I need a break and I do something else I enjoy. Usually I come back with a renewed interest, and if not, well, I’m too busy persuing my new passions, there’re so many fascinating things to take up our time…Good luck!

  • 3. aliki  |  August 29th, 2007 at 3:29 am

    Something that brings my sniffing enthousiasm back is total abstinence for myself (no smelly soaps, cream, shampoos, etc…)zero-degree perfume. But I start looking at other people imagining their scent. Or watching a good movie trying to define what it would smell like, or a good book. Or I start enjoying it all whenever I find myself in a given situation whithout any perfume on, and I have to imagine what should I have worn that moment… It will pass, anyway, hakuna matata!

  • 4. greeneyes  |  August 29th, 2007 at 8:11 am

    That happened to me back in March, Ina. I just had to wait for it to pass. Literally, one day I woke up and thought, “I’m ready to wear something new again!” The most important thing is to not beat yourself up about it. :) We’ll all be waiting when you return.

  • 5. Sara  |  August 29th, 2007 at 8:37 am

    The same thing is happening to me right now Ina! I still enjoy reading fragrance blogs but don’t have any profound interest in fragrances right now–wearing the ones I have or trying new ones. I figure it will pass. cheers Sara

  • 6. Kelley  |  August 29th, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Ina, please don’t worry. Life is like the tide with all things moving forward and then retreating. Change is impossible to avoid. This is a natural cycle in all things perfume. I would bet that all fragrance hounds experience this phenomenon but don’t put a name to it. Just know that you have reached a plateau and eventually you will move forward. You will probably have a new awareness after recharging your scent batteries.

    Good luck.

  • 7. cathy  |  August 29th, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Dear Ina, I’m a long-time reader and I just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your blog – I’ve gone through your archives and read all the reviews. You’ve been a resource and a joy to me. Just thought I should let you know.

  • 8. patricia Seybold  |  August 29th, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Oh, Ina! I have just gone through the same thing…it has lasted all summer and i have blamed it on the heat and my nine weeks of physical therapy where i would not get around to wearing scent until the evening so as not to offend at the therapy center. Then, at night, i would think….why bother? The mosquitoes would just get me! i have some new decants and I woke up the other morning ready for a new olfactory treat. Hang in there…this too shall pass.
    Baltic Girl

  • 9. Divalano  |  August 29th, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    I think that happens often to people re: their passions & art forms. Every artist I know goes through a fallow period in their creativity cycle. I think it’s natural, we can’t be producing all the time, sometimes you have to restore yourself. I think this is exacerbated when one’s income comes from the same place as one’s creative work. It took me yrs after I quit working as a line cook before I really wanted to play with food for fun. And shooting headshots put a huge damper on my photo artwork. I think everyone’s right. Give yourself a break from scent in your pvt life, read a book, relax & it will come back.

  • 10. Robin  |  August 29th, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Been through it several times — I actually see it as a good sign. You’ll be back :-)

  • 11. violetnoir  |  August 29th, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I agree with Robin. I was in a major one about this time last year.

    But you will snap out of it, and come back better than ever, Ina.


  • 12. SniffQ  |  August 29th, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    This happens to artists and writers, too. It happens to me with perfume exactly at this time of year. Summer is waning, it’s not fall, I’m caught up between seasons, I don’t know what I want. Perfume holds no interest for me. It goes away again, generally with the first cold snap or when an unrelated question makes you wonder, “Huh. I wonder what THAT smells like.” Right now I hate every frag. I have. But don’t want more. Just got an order of samples, and the only one that has lasting power is one I don’t like. Grump, grump, grump. Read a book, go to the movies, find a fascinating restaurant and indulge in onions, garlic, or other olfactory pleasures you may usually do without. Stay away from perfume and fragrance topics. Enjoy a craft project. Visit with a friend. Go for a walk. Perfume is like the tide–it goes out, but it always comes roaring back in again.

  • 13. CindyN  |  August 29th, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    I burn heartily for a couple of years on whatever new passion comes my way…then the boredom, or is it ennui, or is it indifference, sets in. Like others above have suggested, I just let it go, walk away, find something else, or nothing else. In time, if it’s truly a stong love of mine, the excitement returns. For me, with fragrance, sometimes life just gets so complicated that the joy that scent brings me just gets overridden, and downtrodden or obsucred by the %^^*(#$ that can be called “life”. Just wait. One fine morning, you’re eyes will pop open, a smile spreads on your face, and your body will crave a scent…

  • 14. Marina  |  August 29th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Please get un-slumped asap. Not having your posts to read every day makes me depressed. Do you want to make me depressed?

    No pressure or anything…

  • 15. Flora  |  August 29th, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Dear Ina,

    I know it will pass someday – we all have the times when real life intersects with our pleasures and the practical/urgent stuff wins out. We have all been there. Sometimes things we like to do must recede into the background while we take care of life’s challenges. Sometimes we have other things brewing in our heads that we are not even aware of yet, that distract us from our usual routines.

    I get the same feeling with my garden – at the end of the summer, right about now, i never want to see another weed, or another squash, or another watering can, and I am more than happy to pack up my tools in the fall and head inside to read. Then what do I read about? Half the time it’s gardening! It stokes my fires so I will be eager to get out there come spring. Sometimes all we need is a little break from something intense and then it all comes back to us.

  • 16. March  |  August 30th, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Well, everyone else already took the good stuff. So I’ll just say good luck and my guess is it will pass with the arrival with some cooler weather, as SniffQ up there said. Hey, some cupcakes from that bakery would fix you right up! 😀

  • 17. Marsha Smith  |  August 30th, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Ina: I’ve been following your blog for months, but never posted before today. You’ve been going strong for months and months, and you’re probably just having a little burnout. Don’t worry. You’ll get your mojo back. You’ve got the fire in your blood.

  • 18. Cait  |  August 30th, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I found it to be somewhat terminal, my lack of interest. I still enjoy perfume very much but writing about it became repetitive. I also find that when I smell perfumes so many of them resemble one another. In spite of my Catholic tastes, I become drawn to similar things repeatedly. I concluded after trying to revive my interest for quite a while, that it was an ennui with consumption. Because I’m not making perfume, but smelling it and/or writing about it, it leaves something to be desired. With other creative activities, one discovers through making. With shopping or writing about perfume, one only discovers what the market offers. It doesn’t mean you can’t find beautiful perfumes that excite or inspire you, it’s just that you’ve discovered a lot of what’s out there. I think we should take ennui as an opportunity to write something more exciting to us!

  • 19. tmp00  |  August 30th, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    I think you’re just going through a sophomore slump: writing about anything, even something you have a passion for can get to be a grind. i don’t see how you ladies keep up the pace. I am sure however (all creative people go through this) that there will be something very soon that you smell that will force you to the keyboard, and I’m sure I type for everyone on here when I write that I cannot wait for that to happen.

    In the meantime I will give you the advice that I gave another friend of mine who was feeling blogged out (Putting tongue in cheek):

    Write about random crap! It’s as theraputic as muttering to yourself and when done epistolarily is entertaining to others rather than just drawing strange looks, as does actual muttering.

    A bluetooth headset will stave off those looks, btw. No phone needed, just the headset.

  • 20. tmp00  |  August 30th, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    should have preface that properly- the italiciized sentence should have started with “do what I do! (on my blog)

    Since I find my random crap theraputic..

  • 21. Ina  |  August 30th, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you, all, for your wise and reassuring comments! They’re duly noted. So good to know I’m not alone, and that you don’t judge me too hard for being absent. 😉 I’ll be back.

  • 22. Patty  |  August 30th, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    I get this every summer, about July, and once the crisp nights come back, I attack frags with a vengeance!

  • 23. Judith  |  August 30th, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    I agree with everyone! I get writer’s block, too, so I really feel for you. I am sure it will get better, but it feels crummy when it’s happening. {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  • 24. Leopoldo  |  August 31st, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Ina – hope it’s gone soon. But, as Cait says, there might always be other avenues to explore in the mean time… Well, she doesn’t quite say that, but I’ve interpreted…

    (Cait – we’d love to hear what you’re working on now!)

  • 25. Kyra  |  September 1st, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Give yourself a break- you are up to your armpits in perfume full time at work. Miss your lovely writing but don’t beat yourself up!

  • 26. chayaruchama  |  September 3rd, 2007 at 6:58 am

    I miss you-
    But understand fully…

    We all get the slumps, honey.
    Explore the other avenues, stay in touch with old friends…
    Whatever revives you.
    Love you !

  • 27. Lucy  |  September 7th, 2007 at 9:39 am

    There is such a thing as olfactory fatigue, and maybe it comes also after too much stimulation day after day too, in a psychological way. It’s like dining in a fine French restaurant every night and eating very richly and heavily at each course. After awhile you need to fast to get yourself back into shape and be able to appreciate contrasts. Maybe cut back to a perfume fest something like once or twice a week instead of every day…give your senses and mind a chance to settle down in between…

  • 28. Ina  |  September 11th, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    You guys all rock! Thank you for your support. I *really* hope I’ll be back soon… *deep sigh*.

  • 29. Qwendy  |  October 2nd, 2007 at 12:12 am

    Ina, I’m in a scent slump too!

    For you I suspect it’s all of the events of the last 6 months catching up with you, and perhaps working with scent as your actual JOB has as it’s consequence a certain dulling of the sense that got you started in all of this. As soon as your body/mind/senses sort of equalize, you will probably revive, just give yourself the time to slump and explore something else for a change! Take it from me, who has a job that many envy (“you must have so much Fun!”) but is, in fact my hobby as my full time job. It’s the proverbial double edged sword. It takes time to reprocess one’s relationship to it when it changes from “fun” to “work,” albeit more fun work than most people get to have……..

    For myself, I’m letting my interest in scent loll and revive itself whenever it sees fit! Today I enjoyed wearing a Rosine, but it wasn’t the blast of Love I usually feel. Oh well, I, too wonder when it will return, and I simply assume it must. This is just this month’s new cycle, which I’m sort of getting used to in my 51st year!

    I’m with Cait too, on the subject of consumption and creativity. Find a great non perfume related book for October, and bon courage!




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