The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Once Upon a Time

Well, here goes. You may want to buckle up. There's still a pretty significant risk of random lane changes and high-speed babble. Feel free to bail at any time.

When I was a kid, I used to read alot. Growing up with C.S. Lewis and Rudyard Kipling and Roald Dahl and Frank Baum and James Barrie for company. Often feeling a little like Matilda when it came to relating to my family.

As I got older, my tastes changed. Didn't help that I got busy developing a social life. Between school and friends and various activities, I wasn't reading as much. People took the place of my imaginary companions, and music took a much more significant role in my life, too. Perhaps that is all healthy. I'm not sure. Looking back, I can say (with some regret) that I don't remember missing books, then.

They weren't completely gone. I found I was still spending time with writers like Isaac Asimov and Madeleine L'Engle and Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen King and (forgive me Highlander, I was young) even a little Terry Brooks. I'd read in spurts. Spending a couple weeks holed up in my room until the outside world would not be kept at bay any longer. Once I opened that door and let the rest of my life in, the books took a backseat to rollerskating, going swimming, catching a movie, being with people.

During my college years, I was studying. And when I wasn't studying, I was partying. Recreational reading took an even bigger hit. I'd go months without picking up a book that wasn't required reading. I remember feeling guilty. Feeling as if were leaving something important behind. Something far more important than my keys. Still, my life was so full of stuff that I justified putting books aside. Something had to give, right?

My life slowed down a little in the years after college. I remember picking up Marion Zimmer Bradley's MISTS OF AVALON in '83, and enjoying it quite a bit. Working nights at a laundrymat, made it easier to pick this hobby back up. And, once I had, I found I'd missed it more than I'd realized. It was then that I tackled Tolkien and Moorcock and Auel and McCaffery and Orwell and Bradbury and so many others that I can't remember. Working nights in an environment where it was often "slow" afforded me the opportunity to read alot. Also, most of my friends were either still in school or working during the day, so I had quite a bit more "free time" on my hands, too.

Reading helped me fill it up. Mostly sci fi and fantasy, but also a heaping helping of horror and mysteries as well. Of course, I still found time to hang out with my friends, but I was glad to have this part of my life back. Very glad.

Always, I have been drawn to libraries and bookstores. Feeling and smelling the volumes lining the shelves. Row after row of them. Combing through them all looking for something new. Something perfect. Sometimes finding it. Sometimes not. But, always being impressed by books and awed by the textual images that filled them.

When I got married and started having babies, well, I pretty much turned my life over again. Putting aside my own reading in lieu of Dr. Seuss and H.A. Rey and many, many, MANY children's books. All of my recreational reading was done in tandem. A tot in my lap, or lying beside me in a bed, as I did it. No regrets. None. I was introducing them to something that I deeply loved. And I willingly put my reading aside, again, to help them with theirs.

Not reading so much to the older two anymore. Little bit is reading herself, now. It won't be long before these days will be behind me, too. I'll miss the bonding and sharing desperately. I will not miss the one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish" quite so much...;)

Thoughts that maybe I'll have a little time to read for myself again, have started creeping in. Likely, the hundreds of books that are in my home that I've never read could have something to do with it, too.

Let me share a little secret. Many months ago, when Highlander was still in the Land of the Hurricanes and I was here in River City, living in a small apartment, but feeling very lonely, I used to fantasize about him reading to me. In my mind, we had a blanket wrapped around us and I was snuggled in the crook of his arm. It didn't really matter what he read to me. It was always something enthralling. It felt very warm and safe and...right.

Mentioning it to Highlander seemed silly. Not that he hasn't seen that side of me often enough. I just couldn't find the time anyway and decided it was something for farther down the road. Tomorrow. Like so many other things.

A couple weeks ago, he was reading something in bed. I leaned over and asked him to read to me. He gave me a look. One of those "are you being serious?" looks. I'd been reading the book over his shoulder anyway and I just thought it would be easier. And, well, you know, I had this fantasy thing, too...;)

And so, because I'd asked, he did. He was in the middle of John Varley's RED THUNDER and it didn't matter. Not one bit. I loved hearing about Travis and Jubal and Jubal's crazy family. I loved hearing the inflections in his voice when he read it. I loved sharing the book with Highlander. Silly, though it sounds. I was filled with such warmth and it felt just as wonderful as I knew it would.

He finished that book alone, later, at work. I'd wanted to hear how it ended, but I will go back and read that one on my own. Sometime...heh.

Interestingly, what happened is that Highlander enjoyed it, too. He'd had no idea that it was something I'd enjoy so much and, well, he takes great joy in making me happy. Could be that he liked sharing that with me, too. I'm not completely sure.

Rather than looking at it as a one-time thing, however, he gave a little thought to it and decided that it was a chance to share some of his most favorite novels with me. Consequently, for the past couple weeks, each night when we go to bed, he reads to me. Depending on how tired I am, sometimes it's only a few pages. But it's a book that neither of us reads other than when we can do it together.

Right now, he's sharing Lois McMaster Bujold's TEST OF HONOR with me. I'm having a hard time waiting to read it until bedtime. I find myself wanting to sneak read to find out what is happening next. I'm not, though. I think he's enjoying sharing it with me, as much as I'm enjoying sharing it with him. But I'm getting almost as bad as my six year old about wanting someone to read me a story every night when I go to bed.

Ironically, at a time in my life when I still feel guilty for taking time for myself to read, rediscovering what I've been missing has me regretting letting that part of me lie for so long. Twisted, huh?


Blogger Your Girl Friday said...

That's very sweet.

J is gonna have to start reading to me now!

9/01/2006 3:59 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

Hmm, I wonder if I could use that to help me score?

9/03/2006 5:26 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...


I highly recommend it. Not that I need another excuse to snuggle with my fella, but it's delightful nonetheless.

Nate -

Possibly. Selection of reading material could be all important if your mission is recreational sex. Perhaps THE STORY OF O.

9/05/2006 10:09 AM  

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