You’re doing it now.
I started reading at a very early age. My big brother Ed, eight years my senior, would take immense delight teasing my sister, who was four years older than I. He would have her try and read the “Acknowledgements” page of any book. Like any other normal child of her age, she stumbled. She couldn’t even pronounce acknowledgements. So she would give it her best, her frowned face all scrunched up and reddened with frustration. Invariably (she wouldn’t have been able to say that word either) she would get all flustered and start crying sending my bro into a hysterical fit of laughter.
Kids are mean.
Since I don’t count G.I. Joe, Archie, Richie Rich, or Dennis the Menace as heavy “reading,” the very first book I ever read was Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird. I read the book over the summer of my sixth year. It instilled in me a life-long love of reading. It is a bit ironic that since I published my book Emotions: Not your Mama’s ABC’s, I don’t read much anymore. I still love researching and learning which I am knee-deep in right now as I finish blocking and plotting my first novel If Only…
But now, instead of seeing me consumed in the pages of a book, you see me at my computer getting stoned.
My favorite part of writing is the research. Learning new things. Relearning things.
In second and third grades, I remember the color-coded SRA reading cards and the intense competition it instilled in the students. In our zeal to ascend, we developed speed reading skills. But another residual effect was the stratification it established.
I mean let’s face it. I’m a Blue level and she’s still an Orange?
Not bloody likely.
Told you kids are mean.
My wife Karen reads like I used to. She is never without a book, even striking the vacuum-in-one-hand-book-in-the-other pose several times a week. She reads like there is an actual law that does not allow her to go to bed without finishing whatever the hell book her nose is buried in.
I was taxing my memory to remember the last book I actually read and completed.
It was William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. If you are going to nitpick and point out that it is a play, then the last book I read was Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.
Some may find that surprising especially when I list Charles Bukowski as a major influence on me. If you want a ride better than any of the rollercoasters at Cedar Point, fire up a bowl of Indica, grab a cold beer (a can preferably), and read Dangling in the Tournefortia. The poetry and prose of this genius made me do the “double-take” look more than a couple of times and was my inspiration to assemble the stories and recount several episodes which ended up being included in my book.
So keep on reading and as always,