Officially, I learned to read when I was five, by looking on as a babysitter read me a “Dick, Jane and Sally” book or some such intellectual tome. (Actually, it started long before that when I figured out the words “OFF” and “ON” by looking at light switches. I would nearly drive Mom crazy turning a light off and on so I could read both sides of the switch.) Mom had spent time reading to me, too — possibly to keep me away from the light switches. I knew there was a connection between the words I heard and the ones printed on the page, and that day with the babysitter, it just came together.
When it was time for Kindergarten, Mom told my teacher that I could read. Skeptical, Mrs. Frederick tested me by asking me to read an unfamiliar book to a few children seated conveniently nearby. I did. So Mrs. Frederick recommended that, instead of the Kindergarten-level “Weekly Reader,” Mom might want to subscribe to the second-grade edition for me.
I have always loved to read. Kept me out of trouble, too, in those early-childhood days when I would wake up at dawn. Instead of destroying the kitchen in an effort to make breakfast, or going out to climb trees, I would sit contentedly in my little rocking chair with a book. Or my Weekly Reader.
After we moved to Texas, I discovered our new church’s library and read one kids’ mystery after another. After working my way through the Bobbsey Twins (they seemed almost logical at the time) and the Hardy Boys, I started in on Nancy Drew.
At school, every spare minute found me hunched over a book from the shelves in the back of our classroom. Fourth grade met at a bigger school with its own separate library. I merrily checked out book after book to take home, reading to my heart’s content–often, I admit, instead of doing my chores.
Sometime during my fourth grade year, a dreadful thought occurred to me: at the rate I was going, one day I would run out of books. I decided then that I must write some books, too. I figured that if everyone who loves to read would write a few books, then maybe we would not run out after all. So I sat down to write a story. In my naivete I thought writing was just like reading, where you just start and then see where the story goes. I decided on a “ghost story.” But after a rousing sentence or two, I realized that I had no clue where I was going or what would happen, and no idea how to make a story. It petered out after a couple of paragraphs.
Since then, I have had dreams of being a chemist, a botanist, an artist and a secretary. I went through two changes of major in college; am happily married, and have enjoyed a “temporary” secretarial career lasting a total of sixteen years, interrupted by a nine-year break while our boys were little.
Finally, Firstborn was ready to go off to college and Secondborn to start high school. I decided to go back to college myself, and finally finish an undergraduate degree. So I jumped in, part time, and graduated with a BA in English in May of 2009.
About that time an opportunity dropped into my lap: freelancing for a local-interest magazine group. I got to write professionally with them for about three years. After that, I started writing fiction, and have been crafting a humorous novella series. It’s still in the works, but on “pause” while I finish up a creative nonfiction project. It’s the life story of a Liberian pastor who serves as the field director for a charity that meets the basic needs of vulnerable Liberian children.
It was quite the long way around, but here I am.
And I still read every chance I get.
Sometimes, I admit, instead of doing my chores.
Thanks for reading,
WOW. Your story could be my story. We are like mirror images. I was just marveling today and at how different I was from my adventurous, three-year-old son, who isn’t happy unless he’s play-acting a story that involves everyone in the room or taking apart every mechanical thing he can get his hands on. I was definitely NOT like that: I was the quintessential bookworm, living wholly inside my head.
And now, umpteen years later, I am trying to launch a writing career. So, in short, I’m with you, sister, and will pray for you as we continue to journey on. Keep me posted (pun most definitely intended)!
Hi, Jenny! Very cool that we’re twins (of a sort)! I look forward to getting better acquainted.
I’ve been catching up on my blog reading and realized I had never read your story. Hope all is going well with 2012.
Hi, Kelly! My year is starting off in a rush. I’m glad you took time to stop by!