L is for Literature

Likeminded people will understand my fascination with the power of the written word. Literature in all its forms, both fiction and non-fiction, paper and electronic, has been a cornerstone in my life for as long as I can remember. As soon as I had a decent grasp on this thing called reading, it was all I ever did. I had my light bulbs taken away from me as a child, because if given the chance I’d stay up until two in the morning reading Nancy Drew, which is not a recommended sleep schedule for a seven year old. My premature eye bags will attest that my parents’ strategy didn’t work; I learned to read by moonlight. I won’t draw you an Infographic Guide to Literature throughout my life–you get the picture.

As a child, despite consuming books like candy, I told myself stories through pictures and doodles rather than words. It wasn’t until high school when the romantic poets, Shakespeare, Literary Terms and Dragonlance entered my life that I took the evolutionary leap forward into writing down the scenes in my head. It was a creative revolution. I sought the old stories, old books from my mother’s old maritime trucks, handed down to her from the time when my great-grandmother came to Canada from Scotland. I read and fell in love with fairy tales all fairy tales, western and eastern, Russian Fairy Tales and Chinese Fairy Tales and Beatrix Potter who I read again and again and again to soak up the magic of her words.

What I learned most from this time, I think, is that it’s not necessarily what’s on the pages that matters. It’s not what the author intended to say when they wrote a certain thing. The magic that comes from literature is what it makes you feel in the moment, and what you and your experiences bring to the act of reading, adding your story to that of someone else.

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19 thoughts on “L is for Literature

  1. Strangely, I just read this today which agrees with your last point, though I prefer your version!
    “A book, once it is printed and published, becomes individual. It is by its publication as decisively severed from its author as in parturition a child is cut off from its parent. The book “means” thereafter, perforce, — both grammatically and actually, — whatever meaning this or that reader gets out of it.” -James Branch Cabell, novelist, essayist, critic (14 Apr 1879-1958)
    I’m probably the opposite of you. I wrote stories and “books” as a child until I got to the “important exam” stage when all the studying knocked it out of me. Years of report-writing at work didn’t help. It’s only since I discovered blogging that I’ve started to feel creative again.

    • The ‘important exam’ stage knocked reading out of me, but not story telling. Part of it is because my partner Alex and I write together daily and have for the 10ish years that we’ve known each other, so I always have someone else with me to share a creative story with, no matter what.

      • Mutual encouragement and just having someone to bounce ideas off of. The stuff we write together isn’t going to be sold anywhere. It’s purely for our own entertainment, but it keeps the story telling juices flowing, and gives us something to do together.

  2. I so heartily agree with you, and Annabel above. You take over a book and leave the author behind when you submerse yourself in it. It is yours to enjoy, the hate, to mistrust or to fall in love with as time and tide takes you.

  3. I didn’t sleep as a child, so reading to all hours was the norm. I had to do it at night, because daytime was for PLAYING!

  4. Heh, I used to read under the covers with a flashlight. It took me a while to figure out my mum could see it under the covers and to close the door.

    Hey, I never claimed to be brilliant at EVERYTHING. 😉

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