Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just Add Reading: For my son, Adam, because he asked.

Reader's Digest

In the beginning, I read because I had to figure out what those two crazy kids,      Dick and Jane, were up to with their dog, named Spot.

Then I read because the words were everywhere: cereal boxes, road signs, billboards, newspapers, and the instructions on the back of the Jiffy Pop popcorn. The words were every place I looked. And I could READ them. It may have been the magic of ordinary things, but it was magic.

After that, I realized that the Reader’s Digest people had filled our house with edited, condensed volumes of . . . well, everything from Michener to Buck. Those books were condensed—like soup—just add reading, so I did.

For a long time, I read to escape. Enough said.

For an even longer time after that, I kept right on reading because 1) it was one of the things I could do while I breastfed 2) it was cheaper than jet skiing 3) and it kept my mind from atrophying into tapioca.

In the time that followed, reading became a habit that enlarged my soul, filled my mind, dazzled my dreams, and acquainted me with the world as it might be, could be, should be, would never be, but wouldn’t it be cool if it was—in a sparkle unicorn kind of way? I kept right on reading, until I ran out of the kind of books that I thrilled to read.

Now I read to know what to write, always keeping in mind all the lonely little girls out there, in the dark places, who turn to books for comfort and company and who want to figure out what silliness Dick and Jane and their dog named Spot are going to get into next.



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