Sunday, March 17, 2013

Childhood Memories

I remember when I fell in love with books... with stories. Goodness, I remember it like it was yesterday! I started reading in Kindergarten, you know, those books with the same words repeated over and over again that they send home with you to practice? But when I was in first grade, my mom began taking me to the public library all the time - she liked to read to. It was the Paso Robles Public Library across the street from the park with the old library they turned into a museum. This new library had a gift store in it. I remember that too. But towards the back of this library, there were chapter books. I was only in first grade.

I loved books. I could never get enough of them. I used to read all the time. I would bring home armfuls of The Boxcar Children and The Saddle Club. Then at night, my dad would read me the Chronicles of Narnia and my mom would read picture books to me. When we didn't want one of the picture books, she would tell a story. There were two she had made up that she would retell to us.

Books really left their mark on me. I practically drowned myself in them, I suppose. More and More so as I got older. But reading books became the reason that I started writing. After I would finish a story, I liked to dream up in my head what happened to the characters when the story ended. I would make up new adventures for them. Peter Pan was my favorite, but I also used to do this with the Pevency Children from Narnia and the siblings from the Boxcar Children. Sound familiar?

Looking back, it is so easy to see why I love making up my own stories. Stories impact us in powerful ways. Almost every author loves reading or movies or something story related. It all starts somewhere.

I found this out when I started reading with another little first grader I was working with. I was the teacher's aid in her class my senior year of high school. Reagan and I would spend lots of time together after school because her mom was a teacher. In the school's library collection, I found my old favorite - the Boxcar Children. Spotting the first book in the series, I dragged Reagan aside and we began to read the story... then Reagan wanted to read it aloud to me. I saw that spark.

Reagan took those books home and read them through on her own. It made me smile to see those books touch someone else.

Whatever purpose it may serve... think back and try to remember when you fell in love with stories. It'll bring a smile to your face. Then share your love of stories. Stories teach people things - they provide companionship, and they take you on adventures.

Actually... it can also serve an amazing purpose. Reading can fix writer's block. I SWEAR it works. Sometimes, i find I just can't write, but when I go back to the source of what got me writing in the first place, I get excited and the words begin to flow.

Reading is the Beginning of Writing.

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