Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How I Got Here—Before the Writing

My mother taught me to read when I was four.

I was reading Little House on the Prairie books before I was seven. I remember being called to dinner and resisting, sobbing because Jack got left behind when they crossed the river and wanting to get to the part where he reappeared while they were gathered around the fire. It didn't matter that I had read the book several times and knew what happened. I sobbed my little heart out.

That's good writing.

I say I wrote "My Very First Book" at age five, but it might have been six or early seven. I still have it somewhere. White paper and a piece of purple oaktag-like cover, folded in half and stapled, containing a story about Jamie Summers, the bionic woman. Hey, we all start out copying. Just ask Megan Hart. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that story was a romance.

I was a voracious reader growing up. Avoiding playing outside...not a lot of friends...reading under the covers late at night...begged to be dropped at the library instead of dragged along grocery shopping...scoped out my cousin's bookshelf instead of playing Chase...rushed to finish "homework" in the few minutes they gave us at the end of class so I could read for a few minutes...that was all me.

I recall a frank discussion with my mother when she found me reading Jude Deveraux's Velvet books. She was concerned about the portrayal of rape in romances. You can tell she was a bit behind on her own reading. This was mid-eighties. The only book I recall reading such a thing in was Whitney, My Love, (I think) which I bought because everyone raved about it. I was in my early 20s at the time, and I hated it. Returned it to get my money back. ONLY time I've ever done that. Which just illustrates how subjective this whole business is.

Tomorrow...How I Got Here—The College Years


Typing Slave said...

One of my first books was a rude expose on neighborhood goings on, newspaper style. The one I actually put into "book" form was called "Earl Campbell and the Skating Rink Skeeves" about a bunch of jerks at the local skating rink. I was older than 5 ;)

Tess said...

Sounds like we were similar. I read the Little House series start to finish at least once a year, alongside all the "new" books I found at the library. As a teen, they became a comfort read, as did my Chalet School series.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

The journalist in you, Jody. :)

Tess, my favorite chapters were the Christmas ones, so I'd start there and end up reading the rest of the book. And even back then, I was into romance. I looooooved Almanzo. (Hated in the book after they got married that she called him Manny, though--or Mannly or something.)

Never read Chalet School. Bobsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys, though.