A Life Of Lyrics

Words have always been more like lyrics to me. They are music to my ears. I’ve lived a life of lyrics, I suppose.

a girl and her dictionary:

When I was a child I was enchanted with my dictionary.

During the summer and when I came home from school I would reverently turn the pages, my pencil tap-tapping against the notebook while I skimmed the columns of words. 

With my pencil I filled lined notebooks with such earnest that the grip of my fingers nearly punched through the paper. 

On the back of each page it was like braille for the blind.

This dictionary opened up a whole new world to me.  

The lyrical world of words.

Akin to a wood chipper:

With all these words floating in my head, my mind was akin to a wood chipper. 

Put a thought into one end, and out the other end came soulful thoughts manufactured with my newly learned words.

Example: Snow falling…

The silent misshapen snowflakes dotted the ground like sprouting dandelions in the spring.

Crystal bits of icy snow fell softly, burrowing in corners and framing window panes with frigid lace.

The snow mesmerized me as it daintily fell from the sky like ballerinas in a well-choreographed ballet.

Old soul in a child’s body:

I guess I was sort of an old soul in a child’s body, for I never really felt like other children. 

I was more comfortable with the old women living close by. 

Gray-haired women long changed by their child-bearing years, the soft swell of their ample figures shaped like apples or pears underneath their aprons.

I loved chatting with them in their sweet-smelling kitchens while they were cutting apples for cobblers or sifting sugar over freshly baked cookies. 

School was distracting:

In school I became bored easily and spent much of the time staring out the window, alone with my thoughts, not hearing what the teacher at the front of the room was saying.

I was busy winding words on an endless reel in my head.

I learned so much more from nature. Climbing up trees and looking down at the world from a different perspective. 

Being outdoors in the big rectangular garden during summer, the sun warming my head and the sound of cicadas buzzing in the distance. 

I would pick berries and watch the sweet sticky juice darken my fingers and trail down my arm where it settled in the crook of my elbow.

To love nature:

I grew to love the earth because I could dig a hole and plant a seed. And soon a seedling would sprout up through the hard red clay and grow toward the sun.

I was smitten. Which led me to being the gardener I am today.

I don’t need a heavy dictionary anymore. 

I can simply type a few letters into a search engine and the internet instantly gives me what I need.

That wood/word chipper is still there in my head. Steadily spitting out lyrics when I push a thought into the other end.



  1. You have a gift for words….and thoughts Brenda. It's one of the main reasons I follow your blog. I am inspired to purchase a real dictionary! Perhaps learning a word of the day or week in 2018. ? Our minds are fascinating and I hope you continue to share your thoughts with us for a long time.
    Wishes for a peaceful Christmas.

  2. Yes, words and language(s) have always been fascinating to me too, Brenda. The intricacies of meanings attached to these marks we make to communicate something either profound or ordinary, sometimes inane, are just amazing to me. Learning another language than your native one is a window into other ways of conceptualizing our world. I studied and learned to speak Spanish in high school and later in college and graduated with a minor in that language. I absolutely loved it. I have traveled to Costa Rica and to Spain and became fairly fluent. I am very rusty now but think about joining a conversational class to practice the language. There is one at our local library I believe.

    I once thought I would become a writer, but have gone in other directions like photography and office work (which I hated!). Words are wonderful vehicles for sharing out tho'ts and feelings and I am in awe of anyone who can weave them into stories and poems and songs.

    I very much enjoyed this post. It has a very poetic feel to me. You are a fine writer and it was fun getting a glimpse of the thoughtful child you were.

  3. You write so beautifully, Brenda. Your words are poignant and inspiring at the same time. I, too, have always love words and the play of words across a page. Blessings to you- xo Diana

  4. Some things in my childhood were similar and some were not. While I didn't copy the words, I did love to use our frayed old Webster's Dictionary because I liked to learn about the origins of the words. Ends up my husband was the same way as a kid and he still keeps a dictionary by the bedside for his nighttime reading. Unfortunately, I didn't have the warm experience you had in the kitchen. My mom and grandmas all shooed kids out of the kitchen, considering us a distraction. It's too bad they didn't try to pass things on. I did get my interest in gardening from my maternal grandparents. They didn't actively teach me anything, but they didn't shoo me away when I watched them planting and hoeing. Gardening seemed like a way that grownups got to have fun playing in the dirt! I'm glad you had some good experiences that you've been able to hold onto throughout life.

    1. I was pretty much shooed out of the kitchen at home, but I saw enough. And then too I watched the older neighbor women. I sure didn't learn to cook at home.

    2. Thank you Lynx and Brenda. You made me think about spending time in the kitchen with my granddaughter and taking the time to answer her questions about what I'm cooking, how and why! lol Usually I'm so busy preparing for a crowd that I think I don't have time to answer all the questions about what I'm cooking and how I'm preparing it. She's just 7 years old and seems really interested in cooking. You made me think about this in a different way. I've always been about creating good memories both with my children & grandchildren. I really hadn't thought about it in regards to cooking and meal preparation, especially with the rush to prepare Christmas dinner etc. I'll take the time this Christmas while preparing dinner and use it as an opportunity to create a new memory!

  5. Sounds like me when I was a kid. I always loved words, too…loved dictionaries, spelling tests, writing poetry and writing in a diary. I was a huge daydreamer in school.

  6. Thanks for sharing your "words" with us and what they meant to you as a child. I envy your writing skills and I hope you write a book one of these days. You sure have the ability.

  7. Much identification, my dear friend, with the dictionary and with being an old soul in a child's body! One of my more treasured photos was taken at my dad's surprise 80th birthday party … it's me, in my 30s, sitting with "the ladies" – all women closer to my father's age than my own, who had always treated me as an equal — not some cute kid that needed to be patronized.

  8. I was always bored in school also. The teacher thought I should skip a grade, but my parents did not want me to….it probably would have been a good idea, I would have been more challenged. I remember helping my older sister who was two grades ahead of me with her homework, ha ha!! I wonder if she remembers that?

    1. I wasn't like you. I didn't get math or science at all. I did poorly there. All I could do to finish high school and college. Because I was good at that one thing, and it didn't spread to other areas of schooling.

    1. Everyone's mind works a little differently. When I think about things, sometimes I don't see the actual thing, I see a metaphorical example instead.

  9. Brenda
    I love the way you described the older ladies that you watched bake and such. My grandmother was one of few people that made me feel real and important. I will always cherish those days with her and how she changed my life for the better.

    1. Now I look back and though at the time I wished I had a svelte pretty mother like the other kids, I now know that I am richer from being around women that were pioneers.

  10. Exquisite writing, Brenda! Lovely examples of your wood-chipper mind. I wonder if children today will ever have the same feeling about words from word search as those of us who grew up with dictionaries, and loved them. I collect old ones, have one in each room except kitchen and bathroom–no room in those now.

    My daughter-in-law has raised my granddaughters through the toddler years telling them "use your words." She is a masterful crossword puzzle worker and I imagine they will be too.

    Brenda, you certainly did "use your words" today!


    1. Good for her, Dewena! "Use your words" – that's about what I say to YouTubers who use swear words because they think they're being so trendy, when actually they're being trashy and showing off their limited vocabularies.

  11. I have long been fascinated with words and their use in complete sentences. A couple of years ago I took a course in memoir writing. I now have a binder full of my "stories" as I call them. I loved that class. Each week we read our writings to the whole class. I got so many subjects from just listening to them. Funny how a few words can jog a long forgotten memory. The teacher gave us so many pointers and examples from published authors. Sadly, she now has dementia. We became great friends, as it turns out she lived near me and we had never met before. Words are more powerful than guns.

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