I like to read books.
Actually, that might be a bit of an understatement. I LOVE to read books. Literally. I’m in live with reading. I’ve read almost every genre and tens of thousands of books. I’m confident in that amount, but I might be underselling it a bit.
From what I’m told, I owe my love of reading to my brother, who is older than me by 16 months. He was learning to read and I had to do it too. From that point on, every billboard, every Lysol can, every cereal became a puzzle that I had to solve. And then the challenges turned into escapes. My brother was all wrapped up in video games and athletics which was of no interest to me, so I kept reading. And kept reading. And kept reading.
It was like I got lost in the stories. The mysteries in the Bobsey Twins and Nancy Drew became my crimes to investigate too. And the friends of the pretty blonde twins of Sweet Valley High became my friends as well. The Chronicles of Narnia gave me a reason to look a little closer at life's most common things. As I got older, Flyy Girl and The Coldest Winter Ever began to command my attention because they were stories about people that looked like me and had the same thoughts that I had or that went through the same problems with their parents that I did.
Word Up! magazine kept me fully informed of any and all celebrity gossip before it became A big things. I had posters and pictured taped all over the wall of my childhood bedroom and went to sleep gazing into the eyes of New Edition and Jodeci. I even tried swiping my hair like Aaliyah’s. Lord. Thank God the 90s are over...
Encyclopedias were a way of life, way back when I was doing homework, and they taught me that information is constantly changing and it's a bad idea to get too stuck in one spot. Dictionaries and thesauruses are still my best friends because they not only tell me what you mean, but they give me a lot of different ways to express myself.
As I got to high school and college, Eric Jerome Dickey and Zane had my attention, teaching me about adult relationships and Black love. They taught me that sex was sexy and not the harsh, irreversible sin that I grew up thinking it was. I learned more about life from the books I read than I learned through my entire high school career, mostly because that’s what I focused on. it had my undivided attention and I gladly wrapped myself up in the lives of the people I read about.
And most recently, I've been into autobiographies and biographies, the real reality show. It has been fascinating to learn about the lives of people that have been most influential in the past hundred years or so, paving ways for me to become the amazingly impressive woman that I am. "The Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes showed me how a woman can be strong and influential and not believe in herself at all. But the elimination of a single word in her vocabulary changed her life in ways that she never imagined possible.
That’s why I am amazed that I still resist becoming an author and writer.
It's not that I don't believe my books are great love stories, because I believe that with my whole heart. I wrote books that I wanted to read. It's just that I've had a life full of obedience and following directions. My parents, my ex-husbands, my children, various bosses. People tell me what to do and I do it. It's just the flow of my life. But one day, I looked up from a book and my husband wanted a divorce. Then my daughter died. And now, I am in no mood to do what I'm told.
My life started happening when I started actually living it. I decided that I was an introvert, but I didn't have to live in fear of life. It was happening whether I participated in it or not. So I wrote a book. Then I had a party. Then I joined an Order. Then I went on a cruise by myself. Every step and every decision has been pushing me more and ore outside of the cozy comfort zone full of books that I have spent so many years building. But I think that I'm done with that part of my life anyway. Losing a marriage and a child is... indescribably painful. 2 parts of my heart died extremely close together. But, as in everything else, that energy didn't die, it was just redirected. Now it is the fuel that my fire needed to get in gear. All of that reading I've done has taught me to view everything from different perspectives so I can keep moving and not stop.
So yeah, books have taught me a lot and I hope that they don't stop. They're part of who I am. But at some point,
we all have to start writing our own stories...