Sunday, September 16, 2007

Caught Between Worlds


There are not enough hours in the day to read all of the books I would like to read. I can easily devour any number of novels, histories, psychology and philosophy books. While, by the way, attempting to write my own. This has always been my dilemma.
I remember the summer my reading really kicked in. I was probably ten years old. I had started to read a book called The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Inexplicably, I could not put it down. I finished it quickly and eagerly. So one of my older sisters gave me Little Women- I made short work of it and the seven others in the series. I spent a lot of my reading time in a tree fort in the backyard. Well, technically it was just a wooden platform nailed up in the branches of the mulberry tree, but, the surrounding branches served as the enclosing walls. On my back , with the book on my chest, I lost all sense of time- I even tuned out where I was. I remember the sounds of the yard coming through to me as if under water as my mind surfaced from the pages reluctantly, as the sunlight became too low. The dog barked, the bugs hummed and I would close the book and think for awhile- hesitant to wrench my mind out of the world the story had woven in my head. Time stood still while I traveled through the world and through history in the embrace of the mulberry tree. Around that time I realized I had my own stories to tell. I filled one notebook after another with stories and characters born of my imagination. I felt compelled to write, but the feeling would come and go. The call of my books would always return and I would have to re immerse myself n the pages of somebody else's story for awhile before returning to my own.
Now, I sit at a computer and write, surrounded by the siren song of other books. Not to mention the song of demanding children and household duties. I feel keenly grateful for a childhood that was set aside for me as my time to do so much reading, filling my mind with things long forgotten by my conscious mind but contributing to the whole I would become. I tell my children now to read and read and read. Because they have more time for it now...and nothing they read will be wasted; like raindrops filling a bucket. In the end that bucket fills up even if the individual drops are no longer distinguishable from each other or remembered.
There are days that I would give anything for wooden platform up in the branches of a Mulberry tree. Of course, now, I wouldn't mind if there was a comfy chair on that platform. But I suppose I will have to settle for my chair at a computer, while my sons yell "Fire in the hole!" and throw things at the back of my head. The book of their lives, of their childhood is one that I am both reading and writing. The two worlds have collided and I write my own story in the spaces between.

3 comments:

angie said...

Hum........your post brought back memories of my childhood and my love of reading. Like you I spent my summers (as well as every other free moment) reading....I have always loved the library. I thinking engaging literature got me through my adolescence and has brought me untold hours of pleasure. I actually just finished The Witch of Blackbird Pond a few months ago....I really enjoy Elizabeth George......more as an adult than I did as a child. Little Women was my all time favorite. Sometimes I think it would be so much fun to write historical fiction......or even a biography......the research would be so interesting.....but then I think of a time commitment and I never follow through. So far I've completed one whopping manuscript. A children's book. I love reading Newbery award winning books and then I think I'd love to attempt a chapter book for children. And then I hear, "mom........" and I blog instead. Baby steps for me! I'll use you as my inspiration. And did I mention I'm doing cartwheels I'm so excited Kirsten is moving my way?

imageseer said...

Jo, that's a pretty 'saucy' looking photo!

maribel said...

I wish I had discovered the pleasure of reading earlier. I started loving it when I read Pride and Prejudice by Austen. I'm glad my kids are getting older but I still feel there is never enough time for all the great books I want to read!