Wednesday, April 13, 2011

how books influenced my life

While on the topic of reading, I pulled out an essay that won a contest I entered six years ago. The contest topic, "How Books Influenced My Life," came from an online writers' forum. Word maximum was a short 250 words. So I wrote up this little essay and emailed it. And won. I believe there were only a handful of entries. But the prize was a critique by Carol Rottman and a copy of her writers' devotional, Writers in the Spirit which I totally love. It was neat to correspond with Carol, and I still occasionally keep in touch with her.

How Books Influenced My Life
A 45-year-old black and white snapshot reveals my lanky young mother, my pajama-clad brothers and me nestled on a bed, tethered together by an open picture book.

My mother’s Tennessee drawl eased me gently away on nightly adventures with Pooh and Piglet in Winnie-the-Pooh and Mole and Ratty in Wind in the Willows. Their magic, like my mother’s southern meals, was poured into me and grew an appetite for words, a love of stories, and a craving for more and more books.

Books and bedtime, books and blankets, books and the beach all wove a tapestry of my earliest, fondest memories.

Like a close childhood friend, my time with books has ebbed and flowed over the years. Babies, child-rearing and housekeeping reduced my personal reading time substantially. I was, however, honored to expose my four children to the wonder of reading as we hauled in stacks of library books on snowy winter afternoons.

These days, books continue as my faithful companions, whether crammed in a tote bag on summer vacation or balanced precariously on my bedside table. My childhood friend is back, to pick up where we left off before life became so full.

And I live with another lover of books: my teenaged daughter, who loves nothing more than to nestle with a book on her bed, under a blanket, and call to me, “Mom, I’m going to read for awhile!”

(c) Barb Haller 2005

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