Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Writer Waits

I have always had a fascination with words. I owe this, in large part, to the influences of Aunt Suse. Her real name was Ruth Estella Jean Bailey, my great aunt who was also a writer. Her primary work was children’s books but I think her love of poetry was her writing passion. She published two books, one of which won a children’s book award, which told the store of her father participating in the Cherokee strip land run. She would drive my sisters and me around town, offering us butterscotch candy as treats while she quoted poetry out loud. Her favorite poem to share (or the one I remember the best) is The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. As an adult I often wonder how appropriate it was for her to tell us stories of Bess the red-lipped daughter of the tavern owner and her affair with a highwayman, but I only remember fascination…not just with the story but the sound of each word rolling off her lips, as if she was savoring each and every sound.

As a child, I was a voracious reader who would go the library and check out stacks of books, only to read and return them within a week or two, hungry for more. I can understand the fascination of e-books and readers for their ease of use, the ability to store large quantities of materials, and the ability to download and read a book almost instantly. However, I doubt I will ever lose the love of holding a book in my hands, carefully turning each page, feeling the crisp paper edges, or peeking ahead in a story just because I’m feeling a bit impatient. Touching a book, whether it is hardcover or a paperback, seems to ground and center me.

Today I read fewer novels and fiction, and more non-fiction and reference books but I still love a story and I feel as if I’ve caught a glimpse of heaven when I walk through aisles of a bookstore or library. For me, this is a visual reminder of endless possibilities, worlds and dreams and people who are within our reach at any given time. On of my first treats after joining the ranks of the newly unemployed, was to head off to get my first library card as an adult. I had to actually visit three different locations before finding one open, however the same happiness I felt come flooding back when I stood in line at the library with stacks of books in hand. And today, feel that I not only write for myself, but also for Aunt Suse who helped fuel this love affair with words and writing.

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