Friday, November 19, 2010

The Written Word

Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. When I was young, I had a bit of a tough time learning how to read. My parents thought I was doing fine, but lo and behold, I was actually just memorizing what they were telling me. They figured this out when they shut the book and continued to 'read'. Boy, did they feel foolish. But at least they caught it. In grade two, they, the bigwigs at the local elementary, sat down with my parents and discussed my 'learning'.

The conclusion was, I wasn't learning very quickly.

In my defense, I came from a family of six kids, there really wasn't enough time for my parents to sit down and teach me how to read. Each kid simply couldn't get the right amount of attention. And so, my troublemaker brothers got the attention while I sort of coasted by unnoticed. This is where my world building came in handy, I simply created the friends and attention I needed. The truth is, there were other forces working against me. I didn't like my teacher that year and there were a lot of other kids in my class, including one unsightly girl who liked to beat other people up. Thus what was happening at home was happening in school as well, the troublemakers got the attention and Little Tyson drifted on by, wide-eyed and sneaky as can be. See, I had something else working against me, laziness. I didn't want to take the initiative to ask for help. In my head, asking for help was wrong. So when the teacher said, read these pages. I just shoved my book into my bag and headed home with no intention of ever asking for help or telling someone that I was having trouble learning how to read.

To this day, I still have trouble asking for help.

Regardless of the excuses, I was zipped off into a 'learning impaired' class. Yep. You heard it here first. I was in a special class for people with learning disabilities. Actually, I loved that class so much more. I went there for only two hours a day, but in that time I got the attention I so desperately craved. And I also learned how to read.

Once I got it, there was no stopping me. I consumed everything my fingers could reach. I hauled a book around with me everywhere I went. And I sat up at night reading, instead of eating cookies and watching the Bulldog and Drummond movies my parents used to force us to watch. Reading provided for me the same thing writing would provide for me a couple years later, an escape. Some of the books I read when I was a child are still my favourites, like Harriet The Spy, The Outsiders, The Secret World of Og, and, my personal favourites, a plethora of Christopher Pike books.

My love for the written word only developed further when I started reading things I shouldn't have been. Sharing a room with my older sister, of about five years, afforded me the luxury of delving into John Saul, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and Stephen King books. Oh, the horror, the sex, the mystery--how I loved those books. So while the people in my classes were partaking in such classics as The Secret Garden and The Borrowers, I was snug as a bug in a rug curled up in my bed rereading the sex scenes in the Witching Hour, enthralled in Misery and delighting in Come The Blind Fury. These books marked a point in my life that I treasure-it's when I realized how important creation is.

Wait...where was I going with this?

Oh, right. Today my writing defines me. But without my love of reading I doubt I would have made it to this point, the point in which I chose to write over eating, sleeping, drinking and developing healthy, lasting relationships. Unlike a lot of other people, I'm not picky. I have never really partaken in any High Fantasy or Science Fiction, but I am a open minded sort of lady and would do so, if recommended something. In the past year, I've connected with a lot of writers and read A LOT of stories. Of the hundreds of writers I have come in contact with, there are a select few of about twenty who have really made an impression on me with their writing skills.

Here I need to pause and explain something.

What I like to read might not be what you like to read, or that weird chick in your office who chews on her hair. This is something called, different strokes for different folks. I can appreciate good writing, where the words blend together so sweetly it's like eating a summer-ripe strawberry. But the thing that really draws me into a story is characters. I love my characters rife with emotion, brimming with attitude, and tormented souls. Which is probably why my own work reflects these things. And the people who have cause me to stand up and take notice are ones who know how to develop the hell out of a character.

Which is why this weeks vlog gets a dedication to a very special author, Cody James. She has immeasurable talent for the craft of writing. I hold her in high regard. And I love her dearly. And's Vlog Day! It's focused on this little lady and hopefully this does something to give her the exposure she needs. Please take a look.

1 comment:

Sessha Batto said...

My early years were spent in an orphanage where, as much as all children long for attention, getting noticed was usually a very bad thing. My friend taught me to read when I was three (to shut me up, I think) and I've never stopped. The first time I stepped into a library I thought I'd gone to heaven ;) Once I could afford them I started buying books and now I have thousands (which irks the hubs no end). What I couldn't do was write. I was a lefty forced to write with my right hand and I just couldn't keep up with my brain. Thank god for computers, now I can get the worlds in my head out onto the page ;)