Okay, let me tell you a story.
It’s mid to late 80’s and little ol’ me is lying on the cool, hardwood floor. The fan is blowing hot air and there’s no more morning cartoons. What’s left to watch were movie reruns like Foul Play or Young Frankenstein. Worse still, was that the TV decided to mock my brothers and I by giving us some snow. And so my brother had to give it a good thwack to set it straight. Basically, I wasn’t having a good day.
But something happened that day that changed me forever. While my brothers were busy adjusting the antenna to the perfect optimization for viewer watching pleasure, I was sifting through my mom’s coffee table. Now that I think of it, she might’ve had some slight hoarder tendencies.
Anyways, it was one of those coffee tables that had large drawers on either side. I don’t remember what she had packed in there, but that there was a lot of it.
Well with the first page, I was a goner. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy had become the sisters I never had and always wanted. I cried when Beth died (tell me I wasn’t the only one). I never knew I could dislike a man so much until I met Captain Ahab. I felt more for his ship and his crewman than for him. After all, he sought his own destruction, as well as his crew, for revenge.
I don’t remember how long it took to finish reading those two books but it felt like a flash to me. I was hooked. I wanted more. And then I discovered the library. Oh, wonderful, wonderful library. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I was visiting the library everyday, dropping off and picking up more books.
Sometimes twice a day; once during recess because seventh graders and up were allowed to leave the school grounds. So I’d walked the six blocks to the library, browse around and pick out my books. Then I walked back and spent the rest of recess diving into new worlds. And then visit the library again right after school let out.
Soon enough, my family and teachers knew to leave me alone whenever they saw me with a book. But there was one time where my English teacher stopped at my desk during free reading time for a few minutes. He just wanted to say how very impressed he was with me as I was the only student with a book over 100 pages. I guess book nerd recognizes another book nerd. He didn’t stay long and left me to finish reading my book, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
After devouring as many books as I did, it wasn’t long until I started to marvel the author’s craft. How could they create such interesting characters? What made them decide for this or that to happen? And then I started to think if I too could do the same.
As you can tell, I’ve been an avid reader for decades. And I considered the library my home away from home. Although life happend (work, family, etc), when I have the chance to go the library, it feels as if I’m coming home again. In the end I’m grateful to books and the library. They were my original starting point on my path of becoming a writer. They were my friends, my confidantes, my teachers and guideposts. Despite the detours and being led astray, they were always with me.
Are you an avid reader? Were you ever deeply touched or changed by a book(s) and or author(s)? Do you believe reading is beneficial to your writing? Please share in the comments section below.