Welcome to my Blog: A Six-Part Story Involving Several Minor Crimes and the Cultivation of the Greatest Love of my Life

Part One: The Unveiling

I remember, vividly, how my oldest sister bought me a novel when I was eight. Up until then I regarded books with spines as something sacred for adults, more so, if their covers were not illustrated in primary colours and their pages contained no pictures, you probably needed a license to read them. I had copiously read picture books; mostly fiction, some ‘educational’, even a pictorial atlas and an illustrated dictionary, but never a novel. You are possibly thinking that I must have been a rather strange child to have been reading a dictionary, and I suppose you wouldn’t be wrong.

 

Part Two: The Epiphany

I spent the next week engrossed. I didn’t pay attention in class. But owing to the fact that my teacher was on maternity leave, I had no allegiance to the series of inconstant substitutes who tried to replace her anyhow. I read on the bus. And I’d secretly cherish every single delay because it meant another moment of uninterrupted reading. I stayed up as late as possible and then found refuge under my blanket with a torch. It was the first time I knowingly got myself into trouble staying up past my bedtime because I had decided the rewards far outweighed the risks. My parents punished me in a myriad of ways, but they were all bearable if I still got to read. And they weren’t bad parents for punishing my reading habits, they just wanted me to also eat and sleep and do other necessary things. But I had to keep reading. I just couldn’t believe what I’d been missing out on. I felt like my world had multiplied in its vastness and I was so excited about everything that could possibly be. It was a singular experience and I treasure that novel and everything it gave me, but really, it wasn’t just a novel my sister had given me, it was a license to imagine.

 

Part Three: The Dark Side

Next came a series of devious actions resting on questionable morals: I became a library monitor at school so I could manipulate the system. I was waging war with library rules.

 

  1. We could only borrow two books at a time.
  2. Books were due after two weeks’ time.
  3. You could only reserve one book at a time.

 

I was easily reading two books a week, i.e. falling in love twice a week and I was determined to get my hands on as many as possible which would have been fine, you’d think, if I had just returned books as soon as I’d read them. But that would be unspeakable! Each reading was forming a bond with the words in my hands and I could hardly bear the thought of giving up a firstborn, firstly because I was not a mother, but an eight year child, and secondly, because every book I loved was precious. I wanted them all with the hungry greediness of obsession.

 

So when I became a library monitor — which was easy because I was an overachiever and persuasive with teachers, I wroughted the system. I deactivated the books that I wanted, affectionately rubbing the magnetic strips like a comic book villain and would take as many as I wanted. But I convinced myself that I was still a good child — reading was a noble thing and I wasn’t going to take them for good, and indeed I always brought them back, just a little late. And I tried to be considerate — I knew which ones were popular and made sure they were returned first. I just wanted to hold onto the ones that I loved for a little while longer. I wanted to reread my favourite parts out loud and wanted to hold the words against my chest as I slept. And I had to fuel this new addiction somehow. In all honesty, I think it worked out rather well.

 

When new books were accepted into the library, I had first dibs. I put more than one book on hold for myself, and several others I wanted under fake names. Once, I saw the librarian override an overdue book status with a pin and I remembered the combination. I hid books.

 

But I also recommended to others. THIS ONE IS AH-MAY-ZINGGG! Younger me would bellow. Many of us would spend lunchtimes reading (when we weren’t playing downball or tiggy) and we got a little bit aggressive.

 

Have you read all the Geronimo Stiltons yet?

I can’t believe you haven’t read The Gizmo yet!

I finished that in three days, how many days did it take you?

 

Part Four: The Writers

Somewhere along the lines I discovered that books could make me cry. Books had introduced me to new dimensions with fantasy. I had read Eion Colfer and Isobelle Carmody but I hadn’t before considered that books were also vessels for our deepest longings. I read tragedy and prized the tears that stained the pages. I was moved, and continue to be moved by books of astounding sensitivity. There are human stories folded within literature and I realised that the writers of books were whole human beings. I was reading the echoes of their hearts and their loosely disguised desires. I learned to be gentle.

 

This nicely coincided with authors visiting my school. I thought them the world.

 

Part Five: The Intermittent Years

I continued to read every day of my life, refining my tastes and always finding something surprising. I remember cackling as I read Douglas Adams for the first time and redefining the concept of ‘great book’. I fell into deeper love when I discovered Jane Austen and into my deepest love yet when I discovered poetry.

 

Part Six: The Beginning

Then I realised I could write.

 

Welcome to my blog.

Advertisements

The Value of Nostalgia

Nostalgia is the vapour left after moments have been lived.
Existing incorporeally as intangibility and wisp
Gift-wrapped in the fog of memory,
And shrouded in comfort’s haze –
Space-time yields to the demands of thought:
Nostalgia can be warm,
Playful and exciting
Evoking summer’s recollections
Of iced desserts and sand-encrusted feet
The sticky marks of chocolate sweets
And icy lemonade
Desalination on your skin –
That salty scent infused
With sunscreen’s permeation
Your bucket hat, a crown,
Sandcastles, mystic realms
Bewitched by seaweed, salt, and sun.
Happiness is simple as nostalgia has us believe
And despite our longing we continue to believe.