From the archives: ten classic perfumes

Guerlain Vintage Ad


















Hello! Welcome to the newly refurbished site.  All the posts on the perfumes in Coming to My Senses are in one place now, the new book page has all kinds of fun extras on it, and I hope you’ll find the old blog posts much easier to browse. To celebrate, here’s a little something from my archives that never made it on to the blog. A couple years ago Harper’s Bazaar asked me to name the “ten most classic perfumes.” Since they only pulled a few quotes from what I sent them (this happens a lot) I thought it might be fun to post the original.

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I’ll Sign Your Book Any Way You Want: A Bookpeople Holiday Special

Antique pen and inkwell

Bookpeople, my extremely cool local bookstore, is doing a typically extremely cool special promotion this week. If you go here you’ll see a list of books by Austin-based authors, including fantastic writers like Elizabeth McCracken, Sarah Bird and Edward Carey who have agreed to do personal inscriptions in any books ordered this week. That means you can tell us how you want us to sign the book. For example, if you order Coming To My Senses you could have me write, “To Aunt Mehitabel, I wish I could write half as well as you can throw a curse. Hope you enjoy this book anyway. xoxo, Alyssa.” Or maybe, “Dear Xanthippe, Everyone knows you are the cool one. Respectfully yours, Alyssa.” Or even, “Dear Dan, I hear you like perfume. You are not alone. Hope you find that bottle of Coq d’Or this year. Smooches, Alyssa.”  I will write anything you tell me to write. ANYTHING.*

You can get directly to Coming to My Senses by clicking here. But I do recommend scrolling through the available books. It’s a terrific list.

The special promotion is running this week only so Bookpeople can make sure people receive their gifts in time for the holidays. (And yes, they ship! INTERNATIONALLY! They’ll even wrap it for you.) However, I am always happy to sign books you order there. Just request it in the special comments section or email the store directly.

*Credit card numbers, smutty filth and general unkindness not guaranteed to be legible. Space is limited.

I Hope They Played All Night


We were invited to a party the other night. That’s a rare enough occurrence on its own—we hardly ever go out anymore—but this party was special. It wasn’t really a party at all, in fact, or not just a party. It was a tiny, secret show hosted by two musicians whose careers I’ve followed on and off over the years, the way you can in Austin, even if you hardly every go out anymore.

It was the kind of thing that people think happens all the time in Austin, and maybe it does, somewhere I haven’t been lately, but it seems more like the kind of thing that used to happen all the time in Austin, back when you could buy or rent a house for cheap and sort of make a living playing in the bars. Back when the ghosts of the blues trail and the chitlin’ circuit still made their presence felt and a lot of older musicians had sort of made a living long enough to be able to settle in and hang out in a lot of back yards with a lot of younger musicians who came here hoping to do exactly that.

So it was special. We knew that and so did everyone else who was there. The backyard was just the right size. Small enough for us to fill it up, but not too small for a few hay bales and a picnic table and a fire pit and a dog and a horse. A horse? “He’s just visiting,” said our host, “It’s a sleepover. We’re gonna do the Ouija board later.” There was wine and lemonade and chips and salsa and there were hot dogs to roast on the fire. We stood around and introduced ourselves and every now and then the horse pushed his nose into the conversation because he was a sociable horse, accustomed to attending parties.

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