I dream of books I cannot read.
I dream of blank pages.
I dream of leather wing back chairs, a book, a G&T and bliss.
Books are always an interesting subject – all kinds – old, new, electronic, paper, fiction, nonfiction…some people lust after books. I have, over certain volumes and bindings.
I almost always have a book (or my Nook) in my purse or car or with me…
My house is filled with books with walls of shelves…thousands of books of all ages, all genres, all kinds…mostly fiction and art but there are ALL kinds.
It is a comfort and makes me feel at home. It is a passion that defines who I am. BUT…
But in defense of all of those kids who are spending their time socializing…and playing…and doing other things…things other than reading…
I grew up in a house full of books that I couldn’t read. I couldn’t read. After a while I could read a little bit but it wasn’t easy.
I’d look at novels for youths that my elder siblings would read but I couldn’t read them. I’d open them up and there would be too many words. I’d pretend to read them (that lasted all of half a second but I did it often.)
I looked at the pictures and I’d draw. Drawing was my reading. I’d make up my own stories.
I’d play dress up and have grand adventures on my own, outside. I was never bored.
My mother read to us. My father made up wild stories with songs to go along with them. So I could say I knew the stories. I just didn’t read, at least not well.
One day a week my mother would take me to a tutor who would attempt to teach me to read and spell. The child I was could never concentrate. I’d be quiet and polite. I’d longingly look at the large world map on the wall and my young brain would travel the world by boat and horse and train. I could read the map, just not a large book. Maps would take me where I wanted to go.
I would write poetry because it was short. But the words in the books still were like great walls of a castle with walls I could never scale. But I don’t think I really cared because I figured it was my lot in life and I didn’t know any better and nobody ever explained anything to me about life and consequences. I just knew that when I was caught doing something bad I’d get into trouble so I learned not to get caught. Reading was another thing.
Then it kicked in, when I was about 11. My brain finally figured out what those words on the page said. Long words now made sense. Sort of. It didn’t happen over night. Then the goal was to make up for lost time. Sort of. It wasn’t easy. Now reading is second nature and a joy, but it was once a foreign uncomfortable experience.
And I had a strong desire for others to think I was smart (oh the folly of youth.)
I did, through no planning, became the most read member of my family.
My kids read but they’re extremely picky about what they read. So they don’t always read books unless it is a school assignment. Sometime they do, but not as much as I expected they would.
When they were small we spent a lot of time in the library, in book stores, and reading at home. We read and read and read. Well, I read to them a lot. I wanted them to be prolific readers.
They’re good readers. They’re smart. They’re scary smart. But they aren’t avid readers – at least not of books. But that’s ok.
The thing is… my children are a lot smarter than I ever was. They’re more worldly, independent and mature. They make good choices. They make better choices than I ever made at their age. They think about things. They talk about everything and discuss and figure things out. They keep up with the news and the big wide world. That isn’t completely a matter of chance.
I’m a firm believer that we all think a little differently. Our brains, our hearts, and our souls are all bound together. Our brains are a base of our being with layers of experiences bringing richness or bitterness or sweetness and insights. Or we can see those layers of experience as tools we have at our disposal to help us deal with those brains we’re born with.
As parents, as friends, as lovers we can give those in our lives more layers of richness and wonder. Give no burlap or thorns, we all get enough of that on our own out in the big wide world.
Books are like that too.
If there isn’t a book around I find myself reading labels or anything with words on it. If there are no words I make up stories in my head. And if someone else is there then they can tell me their stories.
When I dream I see books but the pages are always blank. When there are words in my dreams I can’t read them. Street signs are mysterious and undecipherable. It is a strange and frustrating world in my dreams.
And oh please, don’t go there…I don’t have any learning disorders. I just had other things on my mind like pictures and maps and everything I could see and hear. I loved books with a passion but reading came later, just in time.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman