Sunday, March 4, 2018

candle studies 11: the case of the snuggly sweater (a scented candle mystery)

“Snuggly Sweater.”

Hot dog candles, who knows what’s in ’em.

“simplicity + hope.”

The pop candles of the early twenty-first century.

“Natural candle with wooden wick.”


Having gone looking for candles at Hallmark, Bath & Body Works, Michaels, Pier 1, Walmart, a local gift shop, and Target, what I find are candles made of paraffin and “soy wax” mostly with a plethora of scents mixed in. “Paraffin” is not listed on any label but, as one store worker put it, the candles were “regular wax.” “Soy wax” is on a few labels. Whatever the scents consist of materially and how they are created remains a mystery. I suppose scenting a candle is an art form, like creating perfume or scents for dryer sheets. Some labels claim the scent is a mixture of essential oils, but mostly the labels offer no specific information as to what the candles contain.

Left alone with my thoughts.
Most candles are jarred, lidded, wrapped up tight.
Thank goodness.

“Snuggly Sweater” makes me think of body odor.

“weathered wood.” A splinter, discomfort, a hat pin, hydrogen peroxide, a bandage.

“dare to be different.” Or, dare to live without platitudes.

Natural? Nonsense. Now there’s a good name for a candle of no-name wax that is artificially scented and wicked with a wick so fancy it’s patented.

“simplicity + hope” draws a big blank [           ], then makes me wonder if we are being encouraged to crave, or to create, or to envision, or to evoke simplicity plus (+) hope, for something more – ? – & I ponder much too much what “mint basil” might have to do with it – ? – or might be, is it a thing? am I out of it – but it sounds neither simple nor (+) hopeful [        ] maybe more like a cup of tea to soothe the intestines + spaghetti sauce and garlic bread – ? – [              ]

I started many times on this post about popular scented candles and have spent many good hours trying to get it right, feeling like a candle flickering slowly to the tune of “Wasted Days & Wasted Nights,” occasionally getting blown out, for I always balk and return to an internal debate: should I or shouldn’t I? Despite their vapidity—though they are hardly innocuous—I am not against pop candles. Live and let live. Be and let be. From many wells do we drink. But these candles are just so easy to mock and too easy on which to take out a certain aggression. At one point I wrote:
Is this a candle or a con job?

Then: Laidlaw’s Law.

And then the murders began.