I’ve been reading some professional books about stories lately; the idea of collecting stories and sharing them in different formats. It made me think about why I love writing so much, and where that love came from. I narrowed it down to three reasons:
- My Grandfather
Here he is, in all his news reporter glory (this is sometime in the early 1940s). Based on the picture, you can see that he is burning the midnight oil in order to finish a story. Perhaps that’s why he looks rather annoyed that someone is taking his picture. He was always a storyteller- he told me bedtime stories, read stories to me, and always made time to sit and write with me. I have hazy memories of sitting on his lap while he was receiving chemo treatments for colon cancer and listening to him tell me stories about growing up during the Depression. He passed away when I was 8, so I think some of that love of writing came from him and honoring his memory.
2. Little Women- Jo March
My grandparents gave me a copy of this book when I was in second grade. At that time I needed a lot of help reading the text, so my grandfather would read it aloud to me. I felt very drawn to the character of Jo, who was always scribbling on paper and writing in notebooks. That was me. I wrote or drew on any paper I could get my hands on. The anger I felt towards Amy after she burned Jo’s book stayed with me for days. It still makes me scowl whenever I reread that part. I just loved Jo’s spirit and her desire to write and be published, even though it was more difficult for her as a woman. I admired her determination and wanted to emulate it.
3. Harriet the Spy
My original copy of this book had so much masking tape holding the covers on because I read it so many times. Pretending to be Harriet and spying on imaginary neighbors (and sometimes real ones…Eeek!) was how I spent many a Saturday. I loved that Harriet wrote all of her observations and questions about the world around her….even if they did sometimes hurt her friends’ feelings. It is so important to keep that sense of wonder, and maybe use your powers for good and not evil, but still….I don’t think we take the time to notice and wonder about what we see.
Is it any surprise that my love of writing came from stories? From family and from books? This seems to be a common thread that can connect us on a more human level. So feel free to tell your story, share your story, write your story- you never know who might need to hear it.