Long before I ever dreamed of putting words on paper, I read. Books checked out from the library across the street from our school when I was only in second grade. Books purloined from my big sister’s stash when she dropped them on the table after school. My mom’s magazines, bought at the local drug store, weekly rags while waiting in line at the grocery counter, National Geographic left in the bunkhouse after my grandfather passed away.
I read in my bedroom, at the dinner table, during study hall, propped up against the hay stack, when I wasn’t supposed to be and long after dark.
And then I discovered heaven. Working in the library. Through my junior and senior years in high school, I mended spines, shelved returns until I automatically knew where each title went, spent hopeless hours trying to straighten up the children’s section and took armloads home every weekend. So that I could read more words taking me to continents and climates I’d never seen, on adventures of ocean and mountain that made me shiver, into times and lives of persons past but living still through books.
Was it a surprise that one day I sat down and wrote words of my own? Only to me. But one foot on that path and I could not turn back, eyes and heart on the new world opening before me, the one of words insisting now to be written rather than read, placed upon paper instead of taken up, a world which I somehow realized would never show me the words every writer struggles to reach. The End. How lucky can you get?