Reading! Wasn't for Me!
August 31, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.
“Raise your hand if you read the assigned chapters of Cervantes’ Don Quixote!” said my high school Honors English teacher.
She then told me to stand in front of the class with two other students who had not raised their hand.
Petrified, my face reddened, and my entire body shook when she announced, “These are the students who didn’t do the assignment.”
Now, how was I supposed to love reading after that!
To this day, I have never read Don Quixote. I understand he charged windmills. But who cares! I don’t. The embarrassment this teacher caused during my freshman year instilled in me a disdain for reading that followed me through the next 50 years.
Granted, I should never have been assigned to Honors English, but I think it was because I’d always been a good speller and loved diagramming sentences in grade school.
As an adult I’ve always heard good writers are also avid readers. That wasn’t the case with me. I’ve always loved writing, even as a child creating poetry underneath our weeping willow tree on a hot summer afternoon.
However, my first published story was an editorial to The Seattle Times. I was 35 years old then and felt like running around the neighborhood heralding the accomplishment. Long after that, with kids raised, I took a course at my local community college called, “How to get published” and off I flew. Not only had I loved writing, but now began to write query letters to magazines, receive an acceptance letter and see my articles in print.
But what about the premise a writer must love to read!
It wasn’t until age 60 following a major surgery, when I was confined to the living room couch until recovery with a pile of books donated by a thoughtful neighbor, that things changed. After reading, one, two, three books, I couldn’t get enough! A new world opened. Non-fiction, especially biographies, were my favorites. However, 10 years later and after a trip to the historic WWII Normandy, France beaches, I returned home and delved into many historical fiction novels, adding a new perspective to my European trip.
Today, I continue to read. What fun reading Alex Trebek’s light, fast-paced memoir, And the Answer is...
Although many magazines have closed shop, I still find pleasure in querying those publications still in circulation…with an improved writing skill, better crafted through my love of reading.
The question remains. Will I ever read Don Quixote? Not any time soon!
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