Thursday, August 28, 2014


For sixteen years I’ve been writing and drawing and reaching out from the desk in my office . . . or from my bed, which I treat like a desk until I get up, have a shower, and get dressed. Then I go and sit at a proper desk to write. 

No, I don’t. That’s a lie.

I never get out of bed to write because I’m short, and my legs don’t touch the ground when I sit in grownup chairs and that hurts my knees, so I type in bed where I can keep my legs elevated and relax back into about one thousand pillows. 

And that’s a long sentence.

When I first went back to college, the instructor gave a speech about love, respect, and mutual approbation. Then he had us read from an assignment he’d given us. I read. One of my sentences was longer than the average fifth grade reading level, and the cool girl in my college writing class told me, “Good grief, Hemingway must be turning over in his grave at the length of that sentence.”

I found her less than loving, respectful, or approbating—not to mention wildly ignorant. Hemingway wrote both long and short sentences. But you have to read more Hemingway than just that story about hills and elephants and abortion. 

And that last comment drips with sarcasm. I’m aware of that. It’s possible I’m not as loving, respectful and approbating as the average college kid. But then again, I’m not stoned. 

Shoot. There goes that sarcasm gene again. So you see, I struggle a bit with the silliness that is modern education, literature, and art in general. 

As a kid I read books that weren’t on any government approved reading list—hard books with long sentences and big words. Most of those books have long since been sold at used book sales or dumped in landfills. I know because I bought up a lot of those hard books with big words at those used book sales. So now I have an entire room dedicated to books—IN MY HOME. It’s called a library.

That’s my silly disclaimer, kind of. 

When I was a child, reading wasn’t an assignment so that I could be the cool girl in a cool college; it was life. 

My childhood was less than . . . ummm . . . er . . . how to say this . . . well, it was less than warm and fuzzy. Let’s put it that way. I was a lonely, sad little kid and books were better than drugs. I read everything from cereal boxes to (gasp) the classics. Reading was more than an escape; it was a magical bubble of words that kept me safe from the poison of a world I could not control or change or understand. 

I thank God that there were long sentences and short sentences and stories in those books that kept me safe until I could write my own. 

Linda (Can’t Quit) Zern 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...