I found an interesting post this morning while browsing through my reader. A writing challenge that asked how I had fallen in love with reading and writing. I figured it would be a good idea to post on the topic. Even though this blog is about my present and future, knowing the past can enhance your understanding of who I am today.
I remember the moment I fell in love with reading. Not the exact date or time, but I can pinpoint the moment I fell in love with reading and I still remember the series of events that led up to that moment.
One evening, way back in the year 2000, I was playing with legos and cars while my parents watched the evening news on TV. My attention was completely consumed by my game until I was distracted by screams of joy and excitement coming from the television. I was instantly confused when I saw hundreds of teenagers dressed up as witches and wizards, each holding a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. At this point in time I thought reading for fun was lame. I read 15 minutes a night but that was just so I could fulfill my reading requirements for school. I remember turning to my dad, the bookworm in the family and saying “I don’t get it, what’s so great about these books?” to which he replied “I don’t know, shall we try reading them and find out?” I reluctantly agreed. All of my classmates were already in a hubbub about the Harry Potter series due to the fact that they were getting to see J.K.Rowling do a reading from her latest book. They also all came back with their copies of Harry Potter signed by the author. I didn’t understand what was so great about those books. I didn’t go. I was 9 and in my mind reading was lame. My dad said that he would get a copy of one of the books from the library for us to read.
A few weeks later, my dad came home from work to tell me that it was finally our turn to get Harry Potter from the library and so we went to pick it up from the hold section. When the young man brought the book out from the back, the first thing I did was tell my dad that it was the wrong book. I didn’t want to start in the middle of the series with Chamber of Secrets. If I was going to start a series it would be at the beginning with Philosopher’s Stone. My dad argued that it shouldn’t matter where you start in a series and that if it was well written, it wouldn’t make a difference. The young man who had brought us the book witnessed this exchange, turned to me and asked if I had read the first book yet. I said no. He then said while making sheepish eye contact with my dad and a shy smile said that I should really start with the first book. We left the library empty-handed that day and when my dad came home from work the next day he handed me my very own copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. That night, lying on the bottom bunk in my brother’s room, my dad read the first chapter of Philosopher’s Stone to me out loud. When he was done, he asked me if I wanted to hear more. Without hesitation I said yes. It was at that moment that I fell in love with reading.
My relationship with writing is quite different. I can’t pinpoint when I fell in love with writing or even if I have fallen in love with it. All I really know about writing and me is that writing is vital to my well-being. It keeps me sane.
I started writing outside the classroom in 2001 in a little notebook my dad got from a conference he had gone to. At first I had no use for it, but then I changed as a person. At the age of 10, I looked back on the person I had become over the past 5 years and didn’t like the loud, boisterous, obnoxious jackass I had become, so I changed. I shut myself down. I became very shy, very quiet, I lived inside my head and my imagination ran wild. One day I realized that there were times that I couldn’t tell the difference between my daydreams and my reality so I started using that little notebook to help me distinguish between fact and fiction. The notebook quickly morphed into a journal and the only emotion that could motivate me to put pen to paper was unrequited love. All throughout the remainder of elementary school and high school it was my only source of inspiration to write. At some point I developed an obsession for writing poetically, it didn’t last long because syllable counting was too time consuming but it is the most memorable writing phase I have. Even now when I find the old poems I wrote from that phase I’m my life, I’m left in sense of awe with what I read.
The first time I didn’t write on the subject of unrequited love was in 2011 when I spent six weeks in Haida Gwaii on East Limestone Island. I wanted to document each day, capture the essence of my experience in such detail that when I would reread my writing later on in life it would transport me back to that little island. The sights, sounds and smells of the island, the sense of comfort from the amazing people I met and most importantly what it was like to truly be myself and embrace being me.
It worked because in 2012 when I looked at that journal documenting six weeks of my life, I wanted that for the rest of my life. I began journaling daily with only two rules. The first being I would only write when I felt like writing, no forcing it. The second is that I would write positive things. I’m allowed to write about anger, frustration and sadness but I would need to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel those feelings but that they would pass. My journal would be a source of strength and inspiration for me when I was going through hard times.
I have no significant other to support me emotionally. No one tell me that I’m beautiful and loved, no one to help pick me up when I fall and no one to inspire me to keep going. My journal has taken on that role in my life. It shows me that I can conquer my problems because I have done it before, it’s existence provides proof of that. My past has become my support system and without it, I would be lost.
Writing is now a vital part of my life. I can tell when I haven’t written in a while, my mind gets overly cluttered and I start feeling rather distressed and anxious. I don’t know if I’ve fallen in love with writing but I do know one thing, that I can’t live without it. Hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about my relationship with reading and writing but also about my past!
Until next time,