Monday, March 1, 2010

Being a Kid, I

Who knows where or when one's heart first warms to the idea of writing. I suppose many writers can trace their love to some fondly remembered moment during kidhood, such as when a parent or a teacher read them an exciting story, or they received a journal or a diary as a gift, or perhaps they simply fell in love with the feel of a pencil in their hand.

My kidhood, though, was stacked against me.

I cannot remember a time when either my father or my mother read a story to me. In their defense, I imagine they were too busy making a living (Dad was a logger) and raising three kids (mostly Mom). We were poor, although at the time it didn't seem so. Mom and Dad did, though, have a few books and magazines around the house: for Mom, romances and scandal rags like "The National Enquirer," while Dad preferred crime stories and thrillers. I learned the basics of reading and writing in grade school (no pre-school or kindergarten), but have no remembrance of a "special moment" when I fell in love with anything, except, that is, the mile-and-a-half walk to and from Westside Elementary. There were horse pastures and orchards and lots of rocks to throw along the way. I still love walking and throwing rocks. No, in grades 1-3 we mostly sat in circles and read picture books, and in grades 4-6 the pictures went away. There is, though, the recollection of practicing our skill at penmanship. We would hold those too-big pencils in our too-small hands and painstakingly trace out (between the lines, of course) all the letters of the alphabet, both in upper- and lower-case. I did like doing that, so perhaps my love is based on a tactile memory. Who knows?

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