library reading on the floor

I knew at a very young age that I had words and stories locked inside of me. In Elementary school my teachers noticed that I could write. But not until High School did one particular teacher actually take me under her wing and offer me Independent Writing classes.  I think that most writers can tell you when they knew they had that light bulb moment when they wrote  something special or different that set them apart from the rest of the other kids in the class. Like an artist who paints their first masterpiece or the singer that sings a song that takes someone’s breath away. Or a comedian that makes you laugh until you cry, and the dancer that makes people stop and really watch till the end.


When I was in elementary school I loved to write for me but when I was in college, I put my amature talents to use and totally BS-ed my way through my Sociology class with my essays. I had no idea what I was talking about! But I received this comment on one of my most blatantly ramblings….                                       “100! If I could give you more, I would! Brilliant!” Okay, now I am coming clean. Like I said….I really, truly had NO idea what I was talking about! I just took the question and re-wrote it a bunch of different ways. But I knew then I could possibly fake it and so I did.

catalog card index

Today, I have a much more humbled outlook. I mean, in fifth grade there aren’t a lot of kids that love to really write. I was a different kind of fish in a small pond that stood out a bit because of just that. But in the bigger world, there are trillions of great writers in a much bigger pond. I am just one of many that likes the same bait.

Dr. Suess

The world has changed a bit also. When I was assigned to write those reports that we all remember. Remember those STATE reports? Didn’t we all have one assigned to us before we reached Junior High?  I’d spend hours at our local library, pulling out drawers filled with information, clinking dimes into a copy machine copying pictures in books for those reports.

copy machine

Now kids today can find it all on line. It makes me dizzy just how far we have advanced but  in the same breath, I am kind of sad that our kids will never experience pulling out a library catalog  drawer filled with index cards with  information on them. But though their computer knowledge will always far suprass mine,  there is still something to walking into a library and smelling the leather bound books with words pressed on pages, and being able to walk to a certain section of the library, finding the shelf, and  pulling down an actual book and breathing in the scent of words.

smelling the books girl

35 thoughts on “The Scent Of Words

  1. Hello Diane! I think that was really sweet that the teacher took you under her wing like that. I still visit my neighborhood library from time to time even if I do take my lap top with me to write. I enjoy the quiet atmosphere and the fragrance of old books. 🙂

  2. I too can reflect on nonsensical ramblings that got me through many school papers! Lol. But it’s true what you said about the library. I try to take my daughter there weekly, and I hope that she will still enjoy going and being surrounded by books as she grows up.

    1. But Deb,
      Don’t get me wrong. The advanced technology is amazing. And to be able to pull your book up without having to wait for it. Or to write you a letter and and getting a reply without needing a stamp or having to be at the mercy of our postal service… well, there is a trade off. I mean all those dimes I dropped into those copy machines that printed out black and white pictures from books I layed on the glass of the photo machine can’t compare to the color copies I print all day long from my desk top. But I know you GET what I mean about opening a book and finding a bookmark in the place you left it!
      Love you my friend. 😉
      Praying for you and your husband during this sad time.

      1. I absolutely agree with you. If it weren’t for technology we wouldn’t have the luxury of the instant access. My kindle reader is full of books I can’t wait to get to and the convenience of traveling without taking 10 books in my luggage is great. But I will say that many of my books written about writing and other guides I always love to have a hard copy so I can highlight and mark up as I choose and fold pages, my favorite. 🙂 Thanks again for your heartfelt condolences Di, it is so wonderful to know I have made such wonderful friends here, it is a blessing and comforting. I love you my special friend xo

    1. I know Bill! Aint it a wonderful memory? I loved the sound they made as we pulled them out and the fun of the hunt! Our kids or at least our grandkids will have different opportunities but I wish that they could experience a good old fashioned library! They probably will someday at some museum! LOL.

  3. I must be a wee bit older than you because I remember libraries BEFORE photocopiers. Nevertheless, a favourite place for me too. Interestingly after being hooked on the digital age for twenty years now, I am going back to writing by hand and i have numerous books that I write in every day. So much better than writing by the computer. It is a real connection with the pages.
    “The scent of words” …. ah, yes..I know what you mean.

    1. Elizabeth,
      It is so nice to have everyone’s memories compiled here. I guess we are pretty lucky to be able to just click a key on our keyboard and be able to PRINT wahlah right from our computers. But there is something to be said about our old and older memories of the good old days. Especially those of our libraries! I think us writers have a little more investment in those memories than the average Joe! 😉

  4. “The scent of words” ….I love the way you ended this post. I am old enough to identify with that idea. 🙂

    To have so much talent and enthusiasm beginning at such an early age…plus an amazing work ethic. I noticed that right away at your other blog. Not many people, much less kids are willing to work that hard. You are a real inspiration.


    1. I just wanted to clarify. I know you wrote about BS-ing through Sociology, but still…so much of what you have written reveals a driven and committed person who rises to the occasion. 🙂

    1. Well my friend, I am half hoping that… THAT is a rhetorical question cuz I have no idea. I do know that I was reading someone else’s memoir beginnings and they said “I hope you don’t pass out waiting for the next submission” Or something to that effect. It made me laugh because I am totally exhausted trudging through my latest project. I have another blog that I am using to do a journal experiment that an author friend and fellow blogger suggested. Slowly it is getting some attention so hopefully I will get going on that! If you want a peek… it can be found at:
      Thank you for always being such a faithful reader. I always love your comments!

      1. Have you read “The Writing Life” by Natalie Goldberg, and Julia Cameron? Its available on audio also.I think you would find meaning in it. I especially love Natalie Goldberg. Always, Peter

  5. Perfect title, Diane, so descriptive and stirs up good energies and memories. I get it now and can fully appreciate what you say. It wasn’t always that way for me. In the first part of my life, you couldn’t get me in a library, though I went unwillingly for book reports and such.

    Reading was a pet peeve for me in my younger years because I saw my dad reading all the time. I took it as seeing the world through another and an escape to living.

    I never thought I would be writing and reading as much as I do. I love it, though there are still many classics I haven’t read and I’ve missed a lot of knowledge along the way (I’m clueless when it comes to Jeopardy). 🙂

    1. Pat,
      I can’t believe that you have not been writing all of your life! I covet your comments! I am so glad you have taken it on! You add to our little neighborhood quite nicely!

      1. No, only been writing since 2007 and that’s been sporadic with jobs in between. It’s been challenging and doesn’t come as easy like it seems to for you.

        I’ve discovered a love for it and have come to enjoy it, though the words come painfully slow sometimes, even in writing a comment like this.

        But, I feel and understand what you’re saying about writing and I’m happy to add a little spice to your neighborhood mixing it up a little.

  6. Digging through drawers, the scent of dust in the air at the old library, the silence as the drawers scrape open and shut, that was part of the experience. This post has brought back memories of my first time in the public library and the feelings of reverence I felt there. I won my first writing contest between my Catholic school and the Protestant school in grade five. 🙂

  7. Thanks for writing this…I could smell those words in the memory of my mind’s library stacks…
    As an undergrad (long ago) I worked at the CU’s Norlin Education Library in the research dept. One thing I learned is that there are always hidden gems in the least likely places. In eliminating the microfiche, card catalogues, the old ‘pamphlet’ files, etc and ‘putting it all on-line’ it all in fact has NOT all gotten transferred on-line…that’s the tragedy I see in all of this. Why is it always ‘either/or?’ Why can’t it be ‘in addition to?’
    Hope you’re enjoying the writing of those ‘fresh scent of words’ in your own WIP.

    1. Laura,
      Thank you for your comment! I remember microfiche! It is a tragedy that everything is being transferred to online! But you are right… I wish it would be addition to! But in the meantime I do enjoy the convenience of the fresh scent of the words coming from my WP! LOL. It may not be quite the same as that old library smell or even those ditto copies with the purple ink! Remember?! 😉 But I guess I am happy for all of those advances! I am sure I am. It is so much easier to backspace rather than rewind! But I still feel sad that our grandkids will have no idea what a card catalog is other than an antique! 🙂

  8. I didn’t know I was a writer except in my head and on my bucket list, until a few months ago when circumstances made me take a hard look at what I wanted to be doing. I’m just starting and have a ways to go, but I know my writing will grow, improve and become richer in content with practice and experience. Good for you to recognize it in yourself early and understand the difference between quality and relative measurements against other mediocre writers. We really only need to satisfy ourselves. I much prefer the old research through stacks of books and newspapers (NOT microfiche!!) and using hand-written journals, but the truth is we’re in this electronic media age, and we need to adapt to it if we want to put our work in the world. On the other hand, the opportunity to discover so many other talented writers, and read your work every day, is such a treat, and that is definitely easier because of the internet.

    1. Sammmy,
      Thank you for your wonderful comment! I loved your first sentence that you were only a writer in your head and on your bucket list! I have visited your blog and am so happy that you took action! I can’t wait to continue on your writing journey with you!

  9. I love the title of this blog — and I love the memories it evokes in me. Like you, I have always loved to write, and libraries were/are one of my favourite places (museums and art galleries are close contenders for favourite spots) :).

    and leather bound books….

    ahhh…. need I say more? 🙂


    1. Louise,
      I always can climb right into your words and feel what you are feeling! Thanks for reading and always GETTING what I write!
      I am kind of sad that we have almost missed the chance to write our stories in bound books and everything has practically gone digital! I remember once upon a time when auto correct ribbons and then the backspace key was all so much better than having to retype the whole page over again. Don’t get me wrong, I am not ungrateful about all the improvments and I do appreciate the convenience but I really wanted to be published in time to see my books on a shelf rather than Amazon. But hey published is published right?
      me >>>>> :> Trying to snifffff my computer screeeeen…. lol

  10. Di, for me, there’s nothing like holding a book in your hands, reading, turning the pages, and it’s a bonus if it’s illustrated, but even the best computer or tablet can’t really ever take the place of a real book…, and books don’t need batteries.
    “The Scent of Words”….. I thought you meant words like smell, aroma, odor, stink, and such !!! Hahaha !!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Paul,
      I agree! There is nothing like searching for your favorite author and pulling it off the shelf. You are too funny… perhaps if I’d titled it the smell of words… I might imagine a stinky image but for me… personally, if someone would bottle and sell the fragrance of leather bound printed paper I’d be the first in line at the perfume counter!

  11. I think there is much to be said for learning with a bit more digging involved. It’s do darn easy to look up ‘anything’ online…. Yes they will learn data… but they’ll lose something in the process of having to search out the information… something within themselves Diane

    1. Diane,
      I agree that you lose something in the process of the hunt! And sadly, someday their kids probably won’t even know what a search engine is, computers will do everything for them. They already play tennis and games with them so they don’t even need to go outside to play anymore! Pretty soon they will have a virtual how to climb trees and run around a park if they don’t have that already!

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