I am working on an article / story about legal cannabis in Colorado, and I have written this sentence regarding the smell upon entering a large, industrial grow room:

The only way I know how to describe it is as if the very essence of the best, medicinal grade cannabis in the world were fused into my olfactory receptors via stem cells, and this was simply the way things were.

This seems very long and tedious, and though it is eloquent, I want to edit it down a bit to reduce the number of words. It isn't technically a run-on, but it definitely looks that way, and something about it seems incorrect (maybe I'm overlooking something obvious).

The general template I'm looking for is:

(The only way I can describe it)


(as if the very essence of the best, medicinal grade cannabis in the world had been fused into my olfactory receptors via stem cells),


(this was simply the nature of my reality.)

First of all, is the original sentence actually grammatically / syntactically correct?

If so (or even if not), how can I shave it down while still maintaining its original level of sophistication and eloquence?

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    This is asking for writing advice which is better asked at writers.SE – Mitch Mar 16 '16 at 11:43
  • This is not asking for writing advice. I already know what I'm writing, and what I want to say. This is a question of vocabulary / usage / syntax in a particular example. IMO, this is far too narrow for writers, but I won't complain if you vote to migrate. – Adam Hayes Mar 16 '16 at 11:53
  • There is no other way to describe it - it was as if my olfactory receptors were infused with the very essence of the best medicinal grade cannabis, and to me, they were. But I think the last bit doesn't really add anything. – Neil W Apr 15 '16 at 13:04
  • I don't think your original is "eloquent" -- rather it's somewhat staid and ostentatious. (I'm having a hard time resisting adding that "it stinks".) "The first thing you notice when you enter the grow room is the aroma. It is as if all of the best cannabis you've ever experienced has been blended into one stunning olfactory perception, and the rest of your senses are overwhelmed by the experience." – Hot Licks Apr 16 '16 at 19:04


There is no other way to describe it.

(cut out 'as if')

The very essence of...

The short introduction alerts the reader, and changes the passage from magic realism to direct report.

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  • Of course I'm assuming that your readers understand metaphor. – Hugh Mar 16 '16 at 11:15
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    I'm pretty sure metaphor is this audience's primary language. "Duuuuuude.... this ice cream bar... is... Elysium on a stick, maan..." "I knoow, braah. You can totally taste the flowers..." – Adam Hayes Mar 16 '16 at 11:43
  • @Adam Hayes In that case definitely cut out the "as if" and put a full stop/ period. Similes are for wimps. The syntax and the grammar are OK. But putting the meat into a subordinate clause (following 'is as if') is the reason it loses it's way. – Hugh Mar 16 '16 at 23:39

I voted for @Hugh "parataxis" suggestion. But, you may reword the sentence as follow:

"My only way to describe it is the fusion of the very essence of the best, medicinal grade cannabis in the world awaking my olfactory receptors via stem cells and ...".

You may keep your initial text for the '...' or replace it by "it's how I felt it".

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