The thing is, my life is defined by reading. It's certainly not empty of anything else, or shallow, but the written word remains at the center of it. At some point I fell in love with language and that was what ignited my passion. I've never had a broken heart because my first love is still with me. I don't know who I'd be without books. After all, I'm currently in college hoping to one day become an editor. I'm writing a creative thesis. The majority of my disposable income goes to buying books. I don't even have a vague guess who I'd be without books.
This is not a bad thing. I'm very happy with who I am. I wasn't always, and I still have moments when I wonder what in the world is wrong with me, but overall I try to be a good person and I think I succeed.
And here's to my parents, who aided me in becoming the ultimate bookworm. Every Wednesday night they took my sister and I to the library. We started in the children's section, with them reading us simple books. Hank the Cowdog, Amelia Bedelia, that series about an elf with pastel colored spines. Then I graduated to the older kids' section, reading Nancy Drew and Bruce Coville and Animorphs and Mary Downing Hahn and who knows what else. I was a tiny kid. If the weather was bad, I'd blow away. Third shortest on the ice-skating drill team. And every week I'd take home a stack of books approximately half my height. And my parents encouraged this behavior. One day I realized I'd read most everything in that section that appealed, and I wandered, discovering the YA section hidden between everything. I started reading content I didn't always understand, and sometimes just sped through because I wanted to get to the good parts, but it kept me happy and out of the adults' section for awhile longer. I cried when I moved after my parents' divorce and saw the town's library. It was a tin shack. When I saw it, I was holding a book that I bought for a quarter at my old library.
My parents also bought me books. Those book club order forms from school? My sister and I would circle the books we wanted and star the books we would throw a fit about if they didn't buy them. Then they would bargain us down to about ten books each. Those were bitter throwdowns. Then there was the used bookstore. To keep entertained on road trips, we carried an extra suitcase full of books. Used books are for more affordable by the suitcase load, but the store gave a decent rate of credit on books turned in. And they'd buy full-priced books too, every once in a while. For awhile after the divorce, my dad would buy my sister and I a book each every time we went into a bookstore. The good ol' days, in a way.
When it came to books, I was spoiled. I never had to fight to read. School taught me how, supplemented by my parents and sister working with me at home. The library provided limitless books I could have for a bit, my parents with a more limited amout I could keep forever. And believe me, with my voracious appetite for story I needed every book I could get my hands on. Without books, I wouldn't exist. My body would (likely) be around, but it would be a different mind animating it.
So . . .
Thank you Mom and Dad. I may not always be who you want me to be, but thanks for helping me become who I am. Thanks for enabling me when I needed it, and discouraging certain things that needed to be discouraged. Thanks for not taking away the books, even when they helped me ruin my eyesight and screw with my hearing. Thanks for providing for me. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for letting me be weird and withdrawn and for making me be proud of my brain. Thanks for never asking me what my blog is called because I would never post this if there was the slightest possibility you were reading it.