Do you remember learning to read? I don’t. I do remember sitting in a circle in those little red chairs with Dick and Jane, Spot and Puff. But I don’t recall learning the words. I simply read. Same way with colors. I don’t remember ever learning the names of those waxy scented, glossy crayons in that yellow and blue box. I just knew and colored. I do have a memory of taking a ruler and putting it under the line I was reading so that it blocked out all the other lines, making it easier to concentrate on one line at a time and not lose my place. But, the words were always there.
When I was in the third grade, Mama took a trip back home to Kansas City to see her relatives. Of course, my brother and I went with her. One of the things we did was eat Chop Suey at The Forum in KC, which was a huge cafeteria that Mama had fond memories of. She had eaten there as a kid and wanted her children to experience the same. After we ate, we went to a dime store. She told us we could get one thing. What did I spend my money on? A book. It was a blue hardback with the picture of Rin Tin Tin on the front. I took it to school for show and tell and my teacher marveled that I could read such an advanced book. Shoot. I had no idea the book was supposed to be hard for me to read at that age. I just read. Same way with Gone with the Wind. I read that story when I was in Junior High. Mama said it was too thick of a book for me and that I would never finish. Really? I ate it up! I’ve been known to read a good-sized book in one night.
My best friend growing up was Sally. Often we had sleep overs and when it rained or was too cold to play outside, we read. I can still see us, her on the bed, me on the floor, huddled around a space heater, with a book in our hands. I don’t remember which book she was reading, but mine was Zorro. We read all day, in comfortable silence and perfectly happy.
In the seventh grade, I read To Kill a Mockingbird. OMG, that book was THE best book I had ever read. I sat in a corner of the library and devoured every word out of Scout’s mouth. When the bell rang to go to the next class, I hated it. I didn’t want to know about Civics or Science. All I wanted to know was if Scout would ever met Boo face-to-face.
I can sit and read all day, a fact that baffled my ex-husband. “How can you set there all day and just read?” He didn’t understand. I wasn’t merely reading. I was living the story. Losing myself in the Old West. Morphing into the main character. I felt the wind on my face. Smelled the hay in the barn. Felt the power of the horse beneath me.
Reading is power. Knowledge.
As a writer, I struggle to get my books out there for the whole world to read and enjoy. Social Media is fine up to a point, but how do I get the attention of a national audience? I want everyone to fall in love with my stories, to become the main character, to feel and experience their adventures. To sit in the corner of the library and scowl when the bell rings for the next class. And I am not alone. As a member of various writing groups, I try to read every member’s books. Most of them are excellent. It’s sad to think that these author’s works sit in Amazon ready for the whole world to embrace but go unnoticed. The world doesn’t know what it’s missing! These books have wonderful dialogue, complex, twisting, intriguing plots, characters bigger than life and just as tough. Just because we aren’t Stephen King or Dean Koontz doesn’t mean that our writing, our stories aren’t just as fantastic.
So I beech all the people out there in this huge universe of ours who love to read, to give us-up-and-coming authors a chance. Pass up the best sellers and go to an unknown author. You may be pleasantly surprised. And spread the word. Leave reviews. Talk us up. Follow our journey. Become our fans.
Reading does a body (and mind) good. Bulk-up on new material and new authors. I dare you.
Turn me into a best-seller.
R.H. Burkett: author Daughter of the Howling Moon, The Rook and The Raven
Coming soon: The Adventures of Dixie Dandelion: The Beginning
Picture from: Woves & Dragons Fairies, Witches & Wizards and a Little Fantasy