My wife and I have an ongoing, but
friendly, argument about which is more tolerable: heat or cold.
I’m a cold guy. My feeling is that no
matter how cold you get, you can always pile on more blankets until
you’re fairly comfortable. With heat, however — real heat — you
can strip down to the altogether and still be friggin’ hot.
The hotter it gets, the more foul my
mood. But with cold, not so much.
My wife is the exact opposite. She
says that during winter, no matter how many blankets she piles on,
she’s still uncomfortable. Her nose and fingers and toes are still
frozen and she hates that.
All that said, I guess it’s a good
thing we both grew up in Hawaii, where it never gets hotter than
about 85 degrees or colder than 60.
But when we were having this argument
the other day, I started thinking about the differences in people,
and it brought to mind something I read years ago about the five
senses and how each of us has a dominant sense.
Some of us might have an extremely
strong sense of smell, for example (like my wife), while others
(like me) are very visual and can barely smell anything. For some it
might be a keen sense of hearing, taste or touch.
What does any of this have to do with
reading or writing?
Maybe a lot. When I write, I find that
I rarely talk about smell in a scene. In fact, while working on this
new book, I’ve had to consciously force my character to think about
certain smells because it helped sell the scene.
Unlike visual details, adding in that
sense of smell didn’t come naturally to me. It wasn’t something that
came out of the writing instinctively. And I assume this is because
I rarely concern myself with smell in my real life.
So I have to wonder. Are most writers
like this? Are they led by their dominant traits?
Or what about readers? Are they
attracted to books or scenes or characters that share their own
So this is my question to you today.
What is your dominant sense, and do you find yourself favoring it in
your writing or reading?
And, hell, while we’re at it: which do
you prefer — heat or cold?