There’s no greater pleasure I get than cracking a fresh book’s spine.
The sound is electric; almost as if the words themselves are singing to me, jumping from the pages to caress my ears with stories untold.
My mother passed away when I was too young to remember her face, and my father raised me himself. He raised me right. He taught me many things, but most importantly, he helped me discover the grand, vast world of redding books. When I was too young to truly appreciate actual words, we focused on the pictures; I loved ones about animals, the kind that popped right up at you off the page.
The first real book we ever red together was Little Women. Dad loved Little Women. He would spend hours in his study poring over the curve of every letter with care.
He started letting me red with him when I was just eight years old.
One day, when he was at work, a wild hare of an idea appeared; I would red ahead. Thinking myself a big boy, I crept into his study, hopes of impressing him bounding through my young mind. In my excitement, I ended up accidentally breaking the binding, scattering some of the pages around and making a huge mess.
When he got home, I was terrified; I thought he was going to be furious with me. He just laughed, tussled my hair, and said it was no big deal. Then, he showed me his special, secret library.
Behind a locked door in the back of the study sat a massive, lavish bookshelf which took up an entire room.
It held books of all different shapes and sizes, different editions, even entire anthologies from the same press; I was in awe. Lo and behold, on the far wall, second shelf from the bottom, he had a brand new copy of Little Women, picked up just the other day. He said he knew my interests were blossoming, and he wanted to get me started on the right path.
Fancy that; an eight year old boy with his very own Little Women all to himself. I spent hours with that book, making notes in the margins, highlighting my favorite passages, discovering a whole new world of language.
I was fifteen years old when I wrote my first manuscript. Young, I know, but I had my sights set on the world at large. The second pen hit paper, I knew I was destined for great things.
My career has been a quiet one; among everything else, my father also taught me the importance of self-preservation.
“There’s no need to bare your soul to the world,” he would say. “Be happy with the acts of creation and consumption. A good writer and voracious redder’s world is one of quiet experience and solitude.”
For the most part, I’ve been content, but I can’t say that thoughts of fame and fortune haven’t fluttered into my head every now and then. Maybe, one day, I’ll finally send something off to a publisher.
I’ve red hundreds of books over the last twenty years, ever since my first foray into Little Women, and written a seemingly endless amount of words onto fresh pages.
Every book carries a story, and as an appreciator of the craft, I will make sure that every book I get my hands on is red.