I enjoy writing. I like the way words tumble around in my mind until I group them together on the page. I like jotting lists, making notes, explaining things, symbolizing things, making something small seem important...because it really is important. I like playing with words until they roll off the tongue just the way I want them to when they are read aloud. Most of what I write is true...it's not really non-fiction, but it's not Story. It's just...life.
I have always held a good bit of secret envy in my heart for the author who can write fiction. I've never been good at writing Story. I'm a sucker for reading or listening to or watching Story. I have never NOT finished a book or movie that I have started...I must find out what happens next. I've only ever been tempted to walk out of one movie, but cheap skate that I am, I couldn't bring myself to do that since I had already paid my money. Being the baby of the family, I had to go to bed earlier than anyone else growing up and it very nearly killed me to not know what was going on downstairs! I need to know what happens next.
Books are the same way for me...if I start one, I must finish it. I must find out how all of the loose ends are tied up, even if it is a poorly written tale. I simply must know how it all wraps up. It is part of what make me such a readaholic. I can't stop once I've started. Unfortunately, many times I simply won't start a new book because I know I won't be able to stop. I convince myself that as soon as the dog hair is swept up, the bills are paid, and the laundry is folded, then I will allow myself to read...just one chapter.
Well, heaven help me, I've fallen off the wagon again. In the past three days I've picked up and finished both of the books that I bought "for my clasroom" at the Dublin Literacy Conference a couple of weekends ago, both by Ralph Fletcher. This last one was Marshfield Dreams, a memoir. I just finished it about an hour ago, and long story short, I am now both loving and hating reading in general. This one brought out all of my readaholic tendencies. Let's just say it's a good thing there was a snow day today because I was for sure propping the book open with my phone so I could read while I was drying my hair again, and it's not pretty!
Seriously though, today I could almost go cold turkey and never pick up another book as long as I live. It's just not fair. Put yourself in my place. You innocently crack this one open, thinking to yourself, "I'll give this a shot and see if I can finish it before it's time to do grade cards again in a few weeks. I'll just read one chapter, just one, then I'll sweep the floor, pay the bills, and fold the laundry."
The next thing you know you are on a first name basis with Ralph, Jimmy, Lainie, Tommy, Bobby, Johnny, Joey, and Kathy, not to mention Stephen and Peepers the Roosters, and Beth Aaronburg, who always knows the latest news, good or bad, before you do! You go to the beach with these folks, you ride bikes with them, you tromp through the woods with them finding Mud Puppies and real Indian arrowheads, you play Statue and Hide and Seek and Kick the Can and War. You laugh when they laugh; your tears mingle with their tears. You attend holiday meals, church services, and funerals with them. You ARE them...they ARE you.
And then you turn the page...and...it's over.
Just like that.
They walk right out of your life without so much as a fare thee well and you are left to gaze around the room at the dog hair on the floor, the bills on the counter, and the laundry waiting to be folded.
You know they won't write or call. They won't even send a post card.
They are just gone.
Just like that.
You vow to yourself you will never be tricked like that again! Never again will you be sucked in to someone else's troubles or their joys for that matter. No, not you. You will remain aloof. You will separate yourself and rise above all of that emotion stuff. It's just silly...crying over a book. For Pete's sake!
Until you innocently walk into the bedroom to put some laundry away and happen to glance at your bedside stand where last year's Newbery is waiting. Well, that was an award winner. You probably SHOULD read that...I mean, you are a professional after all, and you should be able to discuss the Newbery, shouldn't you?
Sigh...here we go again.
Heaven help me, but today I love fiction.