I had a bookshelf. I always had a bookshelf. Never as grand or fancy, or extensive as my father (he’s a lawyer, so they look very professional). But mine as always filled with interesting things. Early on they were normally large and colourful, but as I got older, only the covers were splashed with colour. I was proud when I finished my first book without pictures. They seemed to slow everything down, when I wanted more and more, faster and faster. Nothing could satisfy my quench for literature. Until middle school. But we’ll save that for later.
In the beginning, my mum or dad would read me story books, pointing out and explaining the photos and the text. I vividly remember books from Arthur and the magic school bus (some of my favorite TV shows). As well as the special books that only came out at Christmas time (because of their winter theme: we’ve never been religious). Once I was finally able to form the words on the page with my mouth, I was off, reading them out loud to my parents and my self.
I had no older siblings, so my parents and my literature filled house was the inspiration and drive that got me exited. My mum and I would read the harry potter series together, until I was skilled enough to read them on my own (I don’t remember exactly when), and I was supposedly reading at a high school level in the beginning of middle school (if that actually means anything). This burning passion for paper lasted through most of middle school, flying through series after series after series. But then it slowed. And stopped. I didn’t finish the harry potter series, stopping half way though book five (I know plenty of people who would have my head for that). But it ended, and I didn’t realize it until the end of freshman year, when it was too late to pick up another book. That’s not true, I tried, but could never finish them. They were too boring and long. And the context was drastically different from the ones I had been reading in middle school.
So now I look back, and try to connect the dots: what happened? Well, I hate to say it, but technology. In the summer of 7th grade I met a girl at band camp. She was… interesting, but then most band kids are, and I probably was too. So eighth grade started, and I sent her an email. It was a hail marry that I even got it, because I was too daft to ask, and she wasn’t assertive enough to give it without me asking, but on the last day one of her friends took control and gave it to me without my asking. So then every day after school I would go onto the computer and AIM with her and some other friends. I redeem this trade off by saying I took the next step from reading, to developing my voice (though I agree, that’s a stretch). A close friend and I started building websites, I watched hours of YouTube, and got a phone. It was very time consuming, and I basically forgot about reading. Instead of living in a different world, I was content learning about the one I was in, and developing it.
I’m beginning to pick it up again now, but it’s slow. I still read and say the words in my head, which is a bad habit that I had gotten past in middle school, but have since fallen back into. It isn’t the best for comprehension, or speed.