Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Literary Kiss

Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate.--Sandra Boynton

Who can argue with statistics like that? *smile*

To me, reading is like tasting chocolate. As a tiny tot I remember stumbling over to grab books that were beyond my reach. A passion for reading developed. A passion that expanded the older I got. A vivid memory still amuses me. The local librarian refusing to let me check out books that she deemed beyond my comprehension. Perhaps it was a tad unusual for a ten-year-old to be lugging a stack of books geared towards high-school and beyond. Yet within my household, despite the usual smattering of dysfunction, one rule stood out. We could read whatever we desired. A wonderful gift for any reader, although I was the only one of three children who saw this as the equivalent to being handed the keys to a candy store.

Mom let me peruse her sci-fi and mystery novels, her psychology books and Alfred Hitchcock magazines. Heinlein, Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, the best in pulp fiction all at my fingertips. She took delight in my ability to comprehend and enjoy literary works written for adults. When the aforementioned librarian looked down her nose and refused my reading choices, my mom raced over and confronted her in person. Words were bandied about, fists shook with indignant zeal, and within short order the restrictions were lifted. My reading list would no longer be censored. And one better. I no longer needed to limit my pile to the standard three books. Thanks to Mom, I could check out an armful that would leave me staggering for the door. It’s no exaggeration to think I read over a dozen novels a week.

What baffles me to no end is the recent statement made in the press stating one out of four adults say they never read books.

How can that be? How can anyone not derive the same wriggle of pleasure when their eyes pore over the written word? Even now, when the internet age provides podcasts and Youtube as a clear alternative, I can’t let go. Watch a news video or read the same article? The choice is clear.

Not that I don’t love movies and television. Not at all. Falling into a story is rather like swimming in warm fudge, after all. Yum! But without the reading, I’m lost. As a kid, I would read the cereal box while munching away, rather than do without.

This leads to the latest news. The writer’s strike is underway. Contracts are up and the time has come when the people who pen the words that make us chuckle believe they deserve to get a piece of the profit. As a writer, I applaud them all, despite my grief over any missed Daily Show episodes.

For all they do, the writers of the world, I’m grateful. From the daily comic strips to the lengthy commentaries, from the brilliance of Herman Hesse to the light-hearted romps of Janet Evanovich. May writing, and reading, never go out of style!

--Chiron O’Keefe


Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree!!!
YEAH for writers. I love to read, and thank goodness you love to write! love, Cathy

Chiron O'Keefe said...

Thanks so much, Cathy!