Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Addicted to the Written Word

One of my favourite movies which I have seen countless times is "Ever After" in which there is a library scene in which Danielle, the Cinderella character, pronounces herself "addicted to the written word." One of the reasons I chose to be an English major is my love for reading and writing, although I have never read dense philosophical works such as "Utopia," which is Danielle's favourite book. There is something about holding a book in your hand or looking with proprietary pride at the collection of books in their own particular order on your shelf. I have loved books from a young age when my Mom would read to us books such as Dr. Seuss or Henry's Awful Mistake. My older sister belonged to a book club that would send her books in the mail. My Mom read us E.B. White and CS Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, and JRR Tolkien. To this day, I can't read Lord of the Rings without hearing every song in her less than melodious voice.

I don't think I could get used to a world without books. I hoard paper and have almost all my papers from university still and some from college. I even have a couple of projects from high school I have kept all these years. Lately I have more books to read than I have the concentration and focus to delve into.

I am a long time fan of fiction, especially historical fiction or classics both English and translations from world literature. But now I also enjoy non-fiction such as memoirs and inspirational stories, histories, and devotional works. 

I have kept many books I had in university although in the interest of space I have had to let go of some of them. This fall I was able to pass along some of my nursing texts to someone who was taking the same program, freeing up room on my shelf. This summer I got an Ikea shelf at a garage sale which attaches to the wall and holds my journal and cookbook collection as well as reference books and miscellaneous other books I have acquired over the years. As an English major I would spend Christmas break and summer breaks reading my book list. One of my professors counselled us to read every book twice, because there were things that only became clear in the second reading. I admit I never managed to follow this advice.

Saying goodbye to a book, even if I know I will never desire to read it again is a traumatic event. Books are like old friends. I still remember with fondness my maternal grandparents' book collection and how they would take us to the used book store every spring. My grandpa would allow each grandchild to select five books and that's where I got my copy of Gone With the Wind and Little Women. When my grandparents passed away I didn't take as many of their books as I would have liked to have in my possession. My Mom continues the family tradition by getting us discount books each Christmas. 

My favourite book in the world is the Bible which I have loved ever since I excelled at answering questions in the back of our Bible story book at age five. I still remember my kindergarten teacher telling us Bible stories in her own words while we sat together on the carpet. As I child I used to correct Sunday school and Bible teachers when they got a fact slightly wrong.  I have a number of study Bibles and several different versions. I even have a Greek New Testament. I love the stories, tracing the history of redemption, and the cadences of the language particularly in the New International Version. There is something about reading the Psalms, or a chapter from Job or Ecclesiastes, or a particularly beautiful passage in the prophets that is a special experience that you can't find in any other book. The New Testament is full of both stories about Jesus and the early church and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles that contain truths I want to internalise. Also the fact that the Bible is God's word by human authorship adds value beyond good literature. From my years of hearing the Bible read there are quite a few passages I know by heart. It is one thing to know the Scriptures though and quite another to live them. It is sometimes a long distance from the head to the heart, and then there is putting into practice what you have learnt.

I have a dream of writing a book myself some day. I would want it to be a wise book and something that could help other people. I have read and now own a book on the healing power of writing your story which also has writing exercises in it, so maybe I will start to do a little bit at a time. Even if I never got it published I think it would be a worthwhile project that would help me on my healing journey.


Mrs. Gryce said...

As my Mom always used to tell me, "Books are our friends." :)
Looking forward to someday reading your book. (I want to write one too someday).

Suzanne den Boer said...

It might take me a few years :) You should definitely write a book as well.