Writing workshop uses fragrances to help you tell a story

Updated: Dec 07, 2016, 15:34 IST | Shraddha Uchil |

This weekend, head to a unique writing workshop, where fragrances inspire tales


Do you smell that? It’s a story in the making. Well, it is if you attend contemporary fragrance house Bombay Perfumery’s upcoming storytelling workshop featuring writing coach Michael Burns. Develop a Nose for Storytelling is a mini-class where smells inspire the stories. During the two-hour-long writing session, with the aid of Bombay Perfumery’s eight fragrances, Burns will walk you through the process of finding inspiration using your olfactory senses. Burns says, “Writers have many tools to use when telling a story to create an environment that’s not just interesting but that comes alive. Our sense of smell is one of these tools. We can use it to stimulate our imaginations and make our stories’ settings visceral and almost tangible. Smell is a powerful tether to our memories. It’s up to us to gauge its power.

Michael Burns 
Writing coach Michael Burns 

In the workshop, we’ll be using smell to make connections, build worlds, and in several other ways.” Burns is the founder, director, and curator of Tall Tales, India’s longest-running live storytelling event series that features performances and writing workshops. He shares that a lot has changed since he founded the venture back in 2013, when there weren’t other avenues for storytellers.

“There are several storytelling organisations now, which is exciting. We focus on non-fiction, personal stories, because I believe that the lives of everyday people are absolutely beautiful. Everyone’s life is full of challenges, aspirations, dreams, excitement, subtlety, and sensitivity," he says. Since its inception, Tall Tales has received over 1,200 story submissions.

Participants at an earlier writing workshop organised by Tall Tales
Participants at an earlier writing workshop organised by Tall Tales 

Burns has several tips for aspiring writers, but the most important one, he reveals, is to remember that stories come from deep honesty. “We are struggling with who we are versus who we want to be. This is the human condition. The job of the writer is to cut through that and to never be afraid of life, even in its most raw form," he says.

“Great stories are about pain, anxiety, crisis, but also about loyalty, dedication, and euphoria. These feelings live deep down inside us. Storytelling is about digging into places that are sometimes uncomfortable," he adds. Manan Gandhi, the founder of Bombay Perfumery, shares that the label is constantly reaching out to individuals in the art and culture spaces. “We like collaborating and holding interesting workshops like this every month. We’re in talks with someone to conduct a drawing workshop with us towards the end of the month," he says.

On:December 10, 10.30 am
AT: G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture, Laxmi Mills Estate, Shakti Mills Lane, off Dr E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi.
LOG ON TO: insider.in
COST: Rs 900

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