Why I write
My love for books is so deeply seeded in my soul it has become an extension of who I am. As a seven year old, my family moved into a 3500 sq ft old adobe “mansion” in the heart of the Arizona desert. Left behind, by the previous homeowners, were shelves and shelves of hundreds of books. The massive inventory of books was thwarted by the 13 foot ceilings it collided with. I remember my mother, true to her nature, dancing about with joy as she realized the treasure before her. When people came to visit our new home, she didn’t show them the swimming pool or the massive dining room. She didn’t show them the large basement or even the large picture window facing the San Tan Mountains. She took them directly to the library and announced, “They left over 300 books! Can you believe it?”
Her enthusiasm was contagious and my love affair with the printed word ignited.
I loved looking at the encyclopedias (yes, they really did exist), reading the “find your own adventure” books, Encyclopedia Brown (I believe I secretly had a crush on him) and the many volumes of red, hard covered fairytales and nursery rhymes. Books had created a world for me that allowed my imagination to believe and do anything I wanted.
In the evenings, my mother would read to us from wonderful, meaningful books. Each book had a message – a lesson – she hoped to convey to us. We would cuddle up next to her or sit at her feet. Often I would rub her feet while she read. Any caregiver knows, firsthand, of the exhaustion that can set in at the end of a long day and my mother was no exception. My mom would begin reading from the Little House on the Prairie Series (a favorite repeat for us), and drift off to sleep while reading. We would nudge her awake only to have her drift off again and again. But these were the makings of tender memories and we saw it as a game. Who could keep Mom awake the longest?
Gradually, I became more competent in my reading and began looking through our vast supply of books. This is when I met Nancy Drew for the first time. I couldn’t get enough of her mysteries. During the summer, I would start reading a Nancy Drew book in the morning. By “lights out” I had just arrived at the suspenseful part and I just HAD to finish. So, sneaking a flashlight, I would hide under my covers and read until 2 or 3 in the mornings. (Children, I cannot condone this disobedient behavior. Mind your mothers!) I got to know the author’s voice and predictability of those particular books so well that sometimes, when I would start to fall asleep before I finished the book, my mind picked up where I left off – leaving me dreaming the conclusion of the book. I was never too far off what really happened.
We moved around a lot when I was young… and never anywhere near as big as our adobe home in the desert. But, no matter how small the house, those books were lovingly boxed and moved to each and every house with us. Over the years, many of the books just completely fell apart from all the moves, were damaged by heat or a leaky washing machine. By the time all of us children left home, we had all but forgotten about the treasure of our childhood, assuming they had all disappeared throughout the years. However, when we cleaned out my mother’s apartment after she passed away, we found the last few remaining boxes of that wonderful treasure received 25 years earlier. It was a touching reminder to me of where my love for the written word began.
There is something so inspiring about reading the words on a page, touching and feeling the paper, smelling the aging ink and knowing, for just a short while, the new world written on its pages.
Due to the increasing popularity of e-Readers, our society misses some of that multi-sensory experience with reading. But the art of putting words together and the emotions those words can evoke can reach beyond the latest technology. Even though I carry dozens of books with me on my e-Reader, nothing replaces the emotional connection I have with the actual book. I often visit my local bookstore, just to hold, smell and finger beautiful works of literature.
The capturing effect of books in my life has formed a desire to create stories of my own; stories that can be felt through my fingertips as I allow those years of imagination to turn into creativity.
Where better to start than with children’s stories? If children can learn to feel the magic in reading, their lives will be richer and their imaginations will be strong and healthy.
Now, as a wife and mother of five, I hope that my children, as well as all children, will find that same joy I did when I read. It didn’t matter what else was going on in the world, if I had my book, I could escape for a while into another place. With a lot of hard work and a fair amount of Divine Guidance, I hope to write that kind of book.