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Monday, October 10, 2016

Early Reading Life - writing prompt

I'm participating in an online writing group hosted by Ann Dee Ellis. She gives a prompt and encourages 8 minutes of uninterrupted writing. Here's the most recent exercise:

I have always loved to read. A few years ago Kevin and I found a full set of Sesame Street books at a thrift store, and it wasn't until I cracked them open that I felt a connection to them. I don't have memories of sitting and reading them, but the pictures zapped me with a feeling of my childhood. A good one. Those are hard to come by!

I remember reading The Monster at the End of This Book, but after that my recollection of my personal library jumps to books by R.L. Stine. I devoured all the Goosebumps titles I could get and made my way through the Fear Street series as well. I also loved the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary, as well as the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. The Babysitters Club made me long for close girlfriends and the responsibilities the girls in the series had. The Giver scared me and I shied away from science fiction books for the most part. I read The Big Friendly Giant, Sarah Plain and Tall, and Number the Stars. Where the Red Fern Grows and The Diary of a Young Girl broke my heart. I developed a love for historical fiction and reread my dog-eared copies of The Fifth of March, A Break with Charity and In My Father's House (all by Ann Rinaldi) countless times.

Reading was such a good way to pass the time when I was grounded. It was a way to have friends after yet another move to a new city. It was a way to escape reality and see how other people lived. In junior high I got enough tardies that I had an unsatisfactory citizenship grade I needed to work off. I chose to shelve books at the public library. Best. Punishment. Ever.

In high school my enthusiasm for reading waned, and I actually neglected to read some of the required texts for my classes. But I did love The Great Gatsby, The Yellow Wallpaper, Our Town, and Death of a Salesman. In one class we were even assigned Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. But I never read assigned classics like A Tale of Two Cities or Catcher in the Rye or To Kill a Mockingbird (I just read Mockingbird in the last year!). I was so miserable and busy with early-morning Seminary, then school and cheering practice that I don't recall reading for fun in high school.

I'm grateful my love of reading has stayed with me. It gives me an outlet when I'm stressed or overwhelmed with other tasks. It's a way for me to wind down at night, and a great way to take in history. I love being a part of someone else's life for a brief time, and delighting in the stories of others.

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