Friday, September 14, 2007
reading is fun-damental
Opening with an old slogan from my childhood (whatever happened to the RIF program?) to muse on the power of the book.
Yesterday I was in our favorite local restaurant waiting for Bob and the kids to arrive, reading my most recent purchase: Chapter after Chapter by the amazing Heather Sellers. A little boy came up to me (he'd been sort of walking back and forth from his family's table to the front of the restaurant while his party got a baby in the stroller and figured out the tip) and asked about the book. I told him it was for people who wanted to write their own book and had advice about how to do it.
He told me he loved books, and that he was into the fourth Harry Potter novel. I assumed he had to be older than Bobby, but said "I'm seven, almost seven and half." I asked him if he liked the movies or the books better. "The books are more extravagant," he said. "But I like them both."
I so want Bobby to be friends with this kid! (didn't get his name this time, but maybe we will meet on the playground)
Later, much later, I found myself engrossed in Erin McGraw's The Good Life, a collection of devastatingly good short stories. It had been an exhausting day. I had struggled with some sort of serious mental funkiness for over 48 hours, manifesting in various negative patterns. Now, immersed in Erin's world of an alcoholic priest, a frustrated divorced mother, and a self-help author who attends morning mass for her injured, controlling mother, I literally couldn't stop reading. The door clicked open--Bob returning from his gig at Iridium with Lee Konitz--and I checked the clock. Two-thirty!
The power of good writing. I hope I can provide this for my readers, enable them to lose themselves, lose track of time, take them away from the angst and sturm und drang and whatever Germanic term you like to describe their own noisy brains. That's the only thing that matters.