Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Goes Back to the Beginning

Do you remember the first time you read a book? What about the first time you read a book, put the book down (when you were finished, of course) and thought that you wanted to do that; wanted to make people feel and think the things a book made you feel?

I made my parents write down the stories I made up before I could read or write. I would draw pictures on the back of each sheet of paper and act the story out.

And I remember, when I was three or four, hiding under a table so my mom wouldn’t make me leave the bookstore. I couldn’t read, but I guess I wanted to.

The first time I remember actually thinking that I wanted to write was after I read the Harry Potter books. I was nine, and I read them out of order. And then in order. Then backwards again (I repeated this cycle for the next several years). I decided at some point in between “It is our choices, Harry, that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities,” and “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” that I was going to be a writer if it killed me, even if it aggravated everyone else around me.

(I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize anyone who I have ever forcibly read aloud to because “it was just a really good sentence” and especially to the people who I have handed twenty pages of single-spaced nonsense and demanded that they read it by tomorrow and tell me their “honest” opinion).

I feel really lucky to have always had books in my life. I honestly have trouble imagining what it would be like to grow up in a family where no one read, or to have needed reading and writing to leave poverty or difficulty behind instead of just loving the activities for their own sake.

I would not write if I didn’t read and for me, the two will always be connected. What is your first memory of reading? How have the things you read influenced your writing?