Thursday, August 18, 2005

On Reading & Writing

Since this is the Cai Stephan blog, I figured I should at least make an appearance. I'm the Cai half...

Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer. - Susan Sontag

I would agree 100% with the above statement. It is my love of reading that has led me to pursue writing as a career choice. I have always loved to read – even before I could, if that makes any sense.

My parents would take turns reading to me when I was a child – my favorite book, was Little Brown Monkey. My father would try to skip pages or leave out whole sentences and even as a child of three (or maybe four) I would call him on it. Little Brown Monkey and his friends got into some very interesting situations – they went to the circus, LBM’s grandmother came for a visit, they went on a picnic and climbed trees – okay, LBM climbed the tree, his friends Turtle and Elephant merely watched. The point is that though more than 40 years has passed since I first heard the story of Little Brown Monkey, I remember those tales. I remember the pictures and could probably vividly describe them to you. I remember most of all, the joy of the written word and how it made me feel to have it read to me.

Imagine my unique happiness when as an adult I came across a copy of Little Brown Monkey in a bookstore that caters to “difficult to find” and “out of print” books. The price tag on the book dissuaded me from purchasing it, (way out of reach of my budget at the time) but I was nearly brought to tears just by holding it again.

Imagine more happiness when my parents made the trek to that same bookstore (the very same weekend, no less, and without my knowledge) and purchased that book as a gift for me and my daughter – oh, they SAID it was for my daughter, but I’m sure it was really for me. You see, that’s one gift I received from my parents that will never go out of style or grow old – the love of reading and the joy to be found in a good (or even just a familiar) book.

It’s a gift I hope I’ve also given to my daughter – the love of a good book.

Happy (writing) reading.


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