After a year spent working in elementary education, I’ve returned to what feels like home, reading about theories and ideas and writing texts. I’ve been imagining writing and literature course syllabi, and what texts might be useful to not-so-young writing students.
I’ve captured some notes from Tom Chiarella’s Writing Dialogue, which is a solid book to re-visit, and from Josip Novakovich’s Fiction Writer’s Workshop (which has the best chapter on point of view). Then I picked up my old–ancient–copy of John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers. What was I? about 18 when I ordered this from the Quality Paperback Book Club?
Since last September, I’ve had to don reading glasses. For several months last fall, I’d find I had to have them some days, and other days, I could pull off reading without them. Now I can’t, not if the book is close to me. Today, I put on the glasses, and brought the book closer…and as I closed it, the pages fanned, and a particular scent wafted to me: old book smell.
When I was a child, most of what I read was old…old Grosset & Dunlap, most likely. Nancy Drew, Dana Girls, Judy Bolton. Ancient yellowed Trixie Belden. And that old book smell was the best part of summer.
To think I’ve lived long enough to have a book, once new in my hands, acquire that smell.
Just to make sure, I smell it again.