I was just getting caught up on some posts from one of my new favorite sites, The Chronicles of Harriet, when I came across one that really got my juices going. Truth be told, I knew I was way overdue for writing a blog post, and I was trying to find some inspiration for something to write about. So when I saw this post, “There’s No Such Thing as Black Reluctant Readers, Just Wack Writers!”, my search for writing inspiration came to an abrupt end.
Because I can relate.
I was one of those kids who was reading at least a year before I was in kindergarten, and that wasn’t by accident. My mother started reading to me when I was about two years old. A lot. I was a Dr. Seuss kid. By the time I was four I was reading the books back to her. Might have even been earlier than that. Memories of that wondrous time are a bit hazy since it’s going back about, ohhh, 54 years or so. Give or take. But I’m pretty sure I do recall myself being somewhat of a literary prodigy reciting Shakespeare backwards in French and German every night before going to bed.
Well, OK. I’m a liar. What do you want? I write fiction.
But the point I was making, and this time I’m telling the truth (honest) is that reading may be fundamental but it’s not automatic. It’s not a natural impulse like eating or drinking. Although it’s true that you will indeed die if you don’t read, it’s not that kind of death where you, like, actually know you’re dead. Because folks who don’t read anything at all tend to think they’re just fine even as they walk into walls and stumble over dust. And I’m not afraid to say any of this because I know they’re not reading this so, you know, go ahead. Do your worst guys.
OK. I strayed again. Because it’s fun.
But here’s the thing; reading doesn’t grow if it’s not fed. But you don’t develop a hunger for books just because you’re supposed to and it’s good for you. Books aren’t peas. They should be more like you’re girlfriend. Or you’re boyfriend. You know, depending. Because these are folks you spend time with because you feel like it. Or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to go. And then, if the relationship gets good, then you keep it up. Because it feels good. But even if you break up? That’s OK.
Because now you know what true love feels like and you know where to go to find it.