I’m not certain of the exact moment when I fell in love with words, but I do recall the two books that incited an addiction for reading. The first one was “The Monster at the End of This Book,” featuring Grover from Sesame Street. I read it aloud in my best Grover voice and mimicked his expressions and inflection of certain words. The second book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss was a bit more complex and insightful and continues to give me wisdom to this day. If you’ve never read the book, you should run out and purchase a copy as soon as possible.
Like most kids of my generation, I read the popular Judy Blume books and “The Babysitters Club” series by Ann M. Martin. However, when I was in the 4th grade, I stumbled across “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein at the library while I was waiting for my mom to finish her work day–no she wasn’t a librarian, though she did love to read! The story made me cry. The librarian asked me if I was okay, and I replied, “yes, but this book made me sad and happy.” I will never forget this librarian. She asked me if I would like to read more books like this one; I enthusiastically said yes. She handed me three books. They were “The Last Flower” by James Thurber, “The Last Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle, and “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White. I had just discovered Literature and I could not get enough.
Throughout my school years, I read the usual classics that most students dreaded, but I devoured them with enthusiasm. Though I continued to read the mainstream age-appropriate books, I prefered books that used words the way an artist uses paint and ignited not only my imagination, but my emotions and psyche as well. It was not the words in particualr, but rather the intensity of certain phrase that intrigued me. When I was 12, I read the lyrics on the back of a Simon and Garfunkel record because I was bored. The song that induced a lifelong love for poetry was “The Sound of Silence.” I started reading the lyrics of the Beatles, The Doors, and Bob Dylan. By the time my mom got home from work, I had read and listened to nearly all her favorite records.
I dabbled a bit in writing poetry throughout middle and high school. My poetry improved over the years of practice, but I did not consider myself a poet. Though I loved reading, I did not have the patience, dedication, or attention span to write more than a few chapters of a novel. I must have written the first few chapters of about 6 books by the time I was 21. By then, I had given up on being an author. I got married, had two children, and struggled in a tough economy with no hope of ever being more than a receptionist, a wife, and a mother. Not that I think those are unworthy titles to hold–I just wanted more. I was going to be a writer or an actress. I was going to do something amazing and profound with my life.
The truth is, I did do something amazing and profound. I found the love of my life whom I have been married to for almost 19 years. I raised two highly intelligent and politically aware children. I remodeled our first house room by room. I found great joy in cooking; reading; writing poetry, short stories, and essays; DIY projects; and collegiate studies. Now, in the autumn of my life I am finally ready to write that novel. It may not be the next NY Times best seller or listed among the greatest novels of our time, but it will be a novel–my novel. It is my love for words and the English language that drives my lifelong goal, but it will be National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that forces me to the finish line.
The journey begins now. I hope you will follow along as I share my writing journey with you.