How a Non-reader Became a Writer
I’ve been asked this question many times. I got to answer it again last Thursday night while speaking at a friend’s book club meeting. I gave my typical answer: “No. I wanted to act.” (I have a steady track record for goals that leave my parents thinking, Great! Now she’ll never get a job.) Truly, I did secretly want to write for a long time; I just wanted to be a big star more.
Unlike most writers, I didn’t always enjoy reading either. In fact, I hated it until about fifth grade. Mom had to pay me to read, and so did my book-loving grandma. For a visually impaired girl who couldn’t read the board at school and had to pull books up to her nose to make out the print, reading was one more thing to struggle over. I loved the stories and the books themselves but not the part where I had to look stupid reading them. Then Grandma started reading me funny scenes from her childhood copy of Anne of Avonlea. I begged for that book almost every time I went to her house. She would read me a chapter then teach me to crochet around wire hangers. One night she said, “You can read my book on your own if you want to” (probably because she got sick of reading it). It didn’t take long to get me hooked. A friend gave me A Little Princess for my birthday and that confirmed my book nerd status. Mom had to forbid me to reread that book again until I read something else first. So I read The Secret Garden.
Grandma must have known that bookworms were in my blood and needed some prodding. I am now the proud owner of the copy of Little Women she received for Christmas at age 13 and an Anne of Avonlea that looks exactly like the one she read to me. I found it in a used bookstore after she passed away and someone else in the family had taken hers.
Reading slowly inspired me to write. I guess I have Grandma and Anne of Avonlea to thank for planting the seed for my future career. Thank you, Grandma!
How did the seeds for your career or favorite hobby get planted? Who do you have to thank? Just for fun, what was your favorite book as a child? Which title did you read again and again until someone forced you to read something else?