On Reading (and Writing)

With all that’s going on it seems like a good time to talk about reading and the first books I remember. For me, Dr. Seuss was the first series of books I read. I remember them because I still have a few of them, battered and worn by time and tiny hands. I cannot remember reading them, but my name is scrawled inside each front page in very jerky lettering.
As I got older, my reading also expanded. My parents, seeing how colorful comic books were got me a double handful of them and my world expanded to things like ‘Little Lulu’, ‘Richie Rich’, and ‘Hot Stuff’. I did chores avidly so I could get credit for another comic book. I started getting into all sorts of comics, especially DC and Marvel. Superheros and the stories caught my imagination and spun it into overdrive.
Later I went to school for the first time. At that time ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ was all the rage. I wanted to see it too, but it was constantly being checked out by friends handing it to friends. It took me I don’t know how long to get my chance at it, but I do remember going home with this treasure in my arms and slamming my bedroom door closed to read the book.
To put it mildly, I was disappointed. It was in black, white, and, big surprise, purple. Oh sure it was imaginative, but there was no story to me. It was too simple and with only a sentence or two on each page.
I dropped it back at the library the next day, and checked out something from the school library called ‘Monsters of Old Los Angeles’. It was amazing! Seeing a world gone into time, and not only that, seeing it from an animal’s viewpoint! I devoured that book twice before taking it back. And from there I branched out into reading anything and everything I could lay my hands on.
Scientific American, National Geographic, Life, Time, Edgar Rice Burroughs, E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith, Nancy Drew, the list could go on but I’ll cut it here.
Reading is definitely a requirement to write. I have the opportunity to imagine things in ways I don’t think, or create. Books by Magaret Ball, J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas Adams, etc show me new ways to look at daily life and the things that surround me which creates new thoughts for stories.
Never stop reading. It’s how your mind stays young, and gives you the curiosity to question things by presenting them in ways you may not have imagined possible.

2 thoughts on “On Reading (and Writing)”

  1. My parents got me a book about the La Brea Tarpits that I read over and over, learning about direwolves and sabre-toothed cats. Books really can transport you — if you let them.

    Many, many years later, I was in California and had the chance to visit the La Brea Tarpits. My friends were, like “You went WHERE?” But I was on cloud nine. It was a dream that had lasted from my childhood.

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