Monday, November 2, 2009

The Joy of... Text

The first memorable and deeply satisfying piece of writing I remember was the big school project I did on the city of Paris. I was in about Grade 4, and I saved that thing for years, through the many moves so characteristic of our unsettled family. I was especially proud of the Eiffel Tower I'd so faithfully drawn on the cover. Back then, we either drew our own cover designs or cut pictures out of magazines to announce our topics. My mother is an artist, and I guess for a few years I fancied myself one, as well, because I loved that drawing as much as I'd loved the research it introduced.

Research. I didn't know the word, really, but that's what I loved doing. I would sit in the library for hours, buried deep in the stacks of Do Not Remove Reference Books I so loved. I would yearn to be able -- just once -- to be allowed to Remove One. But I never was, and I never did. Sometimes I'd stand in front of the numerous shelves lined with several matched sets of encyclopedias. Oh, the joy, the satisfaction of all that information and all those pictures! The maps and the Flags of the World just about sent me into orbit. If I'd been either a "bad" kid or a gutsier one, I'd have torn out those flags and secreted them away in my lunch box or something. For better or worse, I was neither. Besides, there was the sacrilege of tearing a page out of a book. Nope -- just wasn't gonna happen.

Anyway, the deep pleasure of getting lost in the pages and words and smells and ideas of books has never left me. And I feel equal satisfaction from putting my own words and ideas onto the pages of my own books, articles, and stories.

So whether you've always loved to read and write, or you're just discovering a new love...keep at it. Have fun. Learn and share and stretch yourself. Reading and writing aren't the only great things in this life, but they sure are somewhere near the top. Climb up there and take a look. You might get tired or a little dizzy sometimes, but you can hack it.

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