I am writing from a hotel room this week. The first thing I did when I got to my room was read every piece of literature they leave out on the desk. I know where all the amenities are and what to do in case of a fire. I’m not worried about a fire, nor do I need to know where the closest ER is. I’m just curious. I enjoy the quest for knowledge from simple mundane things to deep philosophical ones.
Words are the key to knowledge
Long before I could string a row of letters together to form words, I remember sitting on my mom’s lap while she read stories to me. We had two sets of encyclopedias. One was a kid’s set. I spent hours looking at the pictures in the 12 hardbound books, each with a different bright colored cover. The second was a grown-up set that my mom would take off the shelf and let me look at. I remember being awed by all the words on the pages –rows and rows of beautiful words.
My love for words grew with my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Clifford. My favorite part of the day was when she read books to us in the front of the class while we colored at our desks. We had rows of cubbyholes in the back of the classroom where we stored our lunch pails, coats, and books. I began to write stories about a mouse that lived in my cubbyhole. I don’t know what she said to me, but I remember she made me feel so proud of my words like I was a real author.
Throughout the rest of my school years, I found comfort, safety, and happiness in other worlds created by books. I read on the bus, I read while doing dishes, I read when I should have been doing my homework.
My curiosity was insatiable. I would beg my mom to drive me to the library, and I would make two trips to and from the car just to return the 50 book maximum allowed on my card and get 50 more. When I wanted to learn about a topic, I would search the card catalog and get every book available. I am so thankful for the internet these days!!
As I married and began a family, my love for reading never waned. I began reading to my babies and continued to read to them through junior high. In 1998 I was diagnosed with Degenerative Myopia. By 2005 my vision had deteriorated, and I saw five images instead of one. The loss of being able to read well was one of the hardest challenges. I began to listen to audio books and practice typing with my eyes closed to train myself to type blind. My world became small around me when I could no longer read cereal boxes, billboards, or pill bottles.
In 2015 I became a candidate for femtosecond laser cataract surgery. This procedure was life-changing. I now have double vision in the distance but can see, and function, especially in my two favorite things –creating new worlds or immerse myself in world’s others have created.
Thanks, Kelly for the writing prompt. What about you? I’d love to hear about your writing journey.