Reading has always been a part of my life. I enjoy learning and reading has been a way in which I can gain more knowledge. It has also been an escape for me. Growing up as an only child was often lonely. I was immersed in an adult world a great deal of the time, without other children and without the internet, video games and the like. I learned to read early and could almost always be found with a book at the ready.
I was raised by parents that read. A lot. Both of my parents always had at least one if not two books going at a time. Family vacations, were always spent with books. If it rained, we would all be found cuddled in our beds reading or lounging on the couch with a newspaper or book.
I read the classics in late elementary school...for fun. By the time they were assigned in junior high and high school, it was a re-read for me. I had already read them and enjoyed the discussion English class brought regarding the details and themes in literature.
I think I was 11 when I read The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway and I was hooked. I read everything he ever wrote in short order. He became my favorite author. In college my nickname was Ernest - one for my love of Hemingway and two, because I was known for saying things in an earnest and heartfelt manner. I went to Key West on a Spring Break boondoggle and I spent so much time at Hemingway’s home, that they had to ask to me to leave, 45 minutes after they closed for the day. I petted every one of the cats, twice. It was an amazing day. I just soaked him in, even though he was long dead at that point.
Then I leap to F. Scott Fitzgerald and read all of his books. I loved his insight and ability to nail people and situations to the moment. I read true crime, romance novels, smut, trashy Danielle Steele novels by the truckload. I read and read and read.
Law school was the first time that I stopped reading. It was too much law school reading that I became tired of reading. It isn’t a coincidence that law school was an incredibly hard time for me. Reading had always been a way I connected to the world and to myself. I learned about myself in the books that I read and the characters that I reviewed. Reading has always been a path of self discovery for me.
It is through books, words, literature and authors that I have come to know people better, myself included. I have this love of words. I am a logofile. A lover of words. I have an entire journal that has only words that I find interesting or weird or quirky that I want to remember. I know what you are thinking...GEEK! Yep, totally.
I love the way one can communicate the heart through the written word in such a different manner than the spoken word. I love them both, written and spoken, but spoken has a pressure to it that the written word avoids. There is something in the pregnancy of the written word, the time it takes to read it that allows for it to have great import in my opinion.
I am reading Kerouac now. Beautiful, poetic and gifted Kerouac. It is possible through literature to love someone that died two years before you were even born. I love that literature gives you an opportunity to connect to a soul that doesn’t exist anymore...except in words on a page. To me that is romantic at its core.
Books and words have always been an escape for me. A way to transport myself to a time and place where some different reality exists. Some place where I can learn something new about myself, about you, about life and love and sex and honor and valor and fear. Words are the great equalizer, and they are the thing that separates us most often. Our willingness to choose words and share words is such a precious gift.
I also love texting...not to the exclusion of the art of conversation (I have strong opinions about conversation as well but I will save that for another day) but I love texting because it uses words as the vehicle to express the heart and mind. Tiny characters on a screen that reach out across the miles, oceans and landscapes to touch another, pull them in and hug them to you. Of course, words can be used to separate and divided as well but I love that I can text an SOS to my Tribe, or a loving note to my mom, or a funny thought to my kids. I love that I can use words to tell you who I am.
Reading has helped me learn about myself and the world around me. I have learned about love, sex, fear, incongruence, sincerity, insincerity and the wide, wide array of human emotions, better, all because of reading. I have also learned to read myself...to know myself because I have been able to use what I have learned in books to see myself in a new light, or in a new and different way. I have learned about love and commitment and attachment through authors who were just trying to sort it all out for themselves. This is what I love most about reading and writing, you don’t have to have the answers to change your life or change the lives of others, you just have to commit the words to screen or paper and ask the questions. Live the life. Share the details and everyone will take away something new and different in their own unique perspective.
I feel like I have been schooled by the masters, I have learned about myself through the eyes of Hemingway, F. Scott and Kereouac. I have learned to read myself through their writing about themselves. It matters not whether it is fiction, every author speaks volumes of themselves in the words they choose to represent their thoughts.
I am so grateful to every one of you that take the time to read mine. My most sincere and honest wish is that you read you through reading me...Namaste.
I leave you with some of the most beautiful words of Jack...
"but then they danced down the street like dingldodies and I shambled after them as usual as I've been doing all my life after people that interest me, because the only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night."
And I am forever changed by these words that capture a part of my soul even though they were written before I was born about three other people that I have never met. They express an idea that is in me and you and that connects me to the divine spirit in us all.