Isn’t it fascinating how we change?
With every degree until the full 180, we undergo infinitesimal augmentations before casting quizzical retrospective glances at that stranger of yore staring back through the mirror.
Alright, so that made me sound too much like Don Quixote.
Even if I’ve tilted with a few windmills.
Like a lot of kids, I had a penchant for spending chunks of time outside, and equally as many in front of the Nintendo—banging on its top when Duck Hunt froze mid-quack, or blowing on the game cartridge until, miraculously, the Blue Screen of Death disappeared.
Those activities were enough for me. Throw a pet dog and cantankerous parrot into the mix, and I was set. So I spent very little time poring over books, losing myself between the pages. I left that to my sister, whose love of books rivaled that of our parents.
Soon enough, though, my friends got more involved with sports, shed their baby fat, and left me for a soccer ball or pigskin.
Still, I tried. Coupled with an accident-prone nature, my soccer playing resulted in bloody noses, jacked glasses, and busted lips—all collateral damage from misguided kicks by my team’s largest member. It didn’t help that my Boost bar consumption added pudge to my baby fat instead of transforming me into a muscled, testosterone-fueled jock.
So, I self-relegated myself to the bench. Which would seem like the perfect segue to a bookworming future, right?
Not until Book It! sensationalized the appeal of reading (and Pizza Hut’s personal pan pizzas) did I entertain the thought of reading for pleasure.
Overcoming a general disinterest in reading, and a profound rebelliousness toward my parents’ slightly overbearing book-pushing, was a very gradual process. Because even if I toted a thick book around the house, my reading became a spectacle, accompanied with, “Oh, look. You’re reading!”
If that patronized praise had been accompanied with a biscuit, then maybe I’d have responded positively. But I wasn’t a dog, and I resented the slightly barbed undertones with every book-inspired insinuation.
So I started hiding the fact that I was reading.
Mostly because I felt profoundly stunted and ashamed.
That is, until I was introduced to Brian Jacques and his Redwall series. Book after book, I lost hours winding through the vivid details about banquets and battles; it wasn’t until a decade later that I learned that he wrote for blind children.
Much later on, well into graduate school, I became enamored with memoirs.
Reading personal stories about how people figured out their lives, or at least tried to do something with them, struck some sort of chord. It made me think about all of the journals I’ve kept since I was nine—from my very first journal entry, which revolved around Zack from Saved by the Bell and a blue sequined suit (clues, clues everywhere!), to the family stories I’ve collected.
Something in my journals captures so much of who I am. And not just because they include crazed ramblings about my latest personal experiences.
The whole act of writing calms me—makes me feel like I’m doing something right. I just don’t get that from work, or anything else that I do.
That alone should tell me something.
Last weekend, while Andy and I perused one of my favorite local bookstores, we both remarked about how great it’d be to write a book.
I’ve mulled it over before—books and history and humor and life, and synthesizing them all. So I figure, what the hell?
I may as well try to do something that’ll make me feel like I’ve captured something about life, experiences others can relate to and laugh about.
Even if I once hated to read, maybe something I create can become some kid’s Redwall-like retreat.
So, I’ll do it.
I’ll try my hand at writing a memoir.
And even if I don’t succeed—don’t ever take a dust jacket photo, don’t deliver a reading like some of my favorite authors—I’ll recount some pretty good memories.
And laugh hard along the way.