In high school, I didn’t know I liked to write. Or read. I read all the time, but most of the time with a highlighter and note cards scattered across my bedroom floor. Often reading meant fighting heavy eyelids as I tried to skim the required material for the next day.
Reading for pleasure was a foreign concept.
Except when it came to Ray Bradbury. I remember I liked reading Ray Bradbury. There was something about the way he took you for an out-of-body experience only to then place you squarely back at your desk in Ms. Cook’s classroom…where really we had been all along.
I remember I also liked it when she – my high school English teacher – let us stand on her desk. When we actually got up from our own desks for a moment and took a turn standing on top of hers. With a nod to Mr. Keating’s brilliant tactic in Dead Poets Society, she gave us the opportunity to experience a shift in perspective – a chance to see the world, or at least her room, from a new place for just a moment. And then to hop back down to ground level and watch our classmates experience the same.
And then we were back at our desks. Reading, writing, discussing. Shakespeare, Huxley, Steinbeck. I remember Gatsby, too. But I admit that I remember more of DiCaprio’s than Fitzgerald’s. I did more skimming than reading in those days. But some things stuck, like that darn green light.
Somehow I read and wrote though high school and then through college, but all the while reluctant. I was an unfaithful student of the subject and doted in math and architecture for a time, but it was not to last. A brilliant professor or another challenging course in the English department kept luring me back for just one more class.
And before I knew it I had a degree.
Yet, despite the official nature of the paper that declared my allegiance to the writing and reading of our language, I kept my love quiet. I didn’t tell people, really. I taught math…of all things. Can you imagine if my secret got out? I mean, those are two separate sides of the brain.
Two kids came along (at once) and I found myself at home. And despite the giggles and the cries and the constant buzz of motherhood, it was quiet. So quiet. And the voice in my head wrestled for someplace to go, to be heard.
Alas, I opened my laptop and let my fingers find the keys. And I finally (re)discovered the love that had been there waiting for me all the while. I started writing. And reading. But this time, for pleasure.
Last night as I turned on my reading light and pulled a book of the nightstand, my husband asked in a half-awake haze,
What’s that about?
Oh. Sure thing, hun. ‘Night.
So I’m reading and I’m writing and I’m learning and I’m loving it. Most days. I’m still not sure if this is a hobby or a calling or maybe just a distraction, but I’m willing to wait to see.
And for now this place, this blog, is my home. My space for working it all out. For exercising my writing muscle and seeing if it just might one day become strong enough to affect something real. To lift another as others have lifted me.