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Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

Reading and writing have literally saved my life on an occasion or two. I was fortunate that my Mom encouraged both…except when she would catch me with a flashlight in my little space under the covers in the middle of the night.

I have always been an avid reader and often escaped into a story or two, or three, or…you get the idea…when things got ugly in my real world. Always, in search of a safe space.

Writing became more important to me in those first years after my Mom passed. I slept little for fear of the nightmares that became my reality whenever I laid my head down. Luckily, a remarkable teacher became very attuned to my struggling and suggested I write about these things. I feared my horrors would become public knowledge, but he offered to accept my writing as his assignments. He would make corrections, add comments and grade them. He gave me space and promised to never make me read them aloud in class. Everyone should have at least one teacher like him. Writing about those dark things released me from the power they held over me. In later years (much later) I would find that same release (good and bad) by writing in my own space on my blog. Unfortunately, #wordpress in their infinite wisdom and like every other social media program changed their writing platform beyond my recognition again! It feels heavy and cumbersome and very awkward to navigate. So, during this past year, when pretty much everyone  on the planet is struggling to stay sane, (thank you COVID) every time I try to write something, it becomes a huge ordeal — so there hasn’t been a lot of writing. Kudos to my comrades who have turned this time into a cornucopia of literary creativity! I know a lot of you left this platform in favour of another space. Don’t worry, people will follow.

Not writing, however, leaves me time to read.  A lot of time.

Books…like magic, can transport you through time both backward and forward. You can visit any space in the world. And out of this world. Fantasies become reality. And you can learn anything from a book. Books are like family and best friends. They’re always there for you. I love this list of reading benefits of reading that showed up on Facebook recently.

The worst thing about reading a book is finishing a book. I have always dreamed of having a home library that’s the biggest space in the house, packed to the brim so that you had to slide back and forth on a ladder to retrieve the next offering. That never happened. (Probably for the best as I can’t even climb a ladder now.)

This Never Happened

However, the first time He-Who and I downsized from a house to a condo the reality of our book collection was overwhelming. Yes, He-Who is a reader/writer too. We were forced to cull the books. He-Who’s entire Stephen King collection went to one of his grandchildren. Others were shared, donated and passed on. Each one was a heartache to say goodbye to. Three moves and three downsizings later has left us with very few actual physical books in our household. Judging from the number of boxes of books I just packed (no I am not getting rid of them. I am just negotiating for space) our definitions of “few” may not align. We have been confined to quarters for over a year now and any illusion of having more space is welcome.

I have always been one of those people who thinks books need to be held, smelled, felt and you absolutely had to be able to turn the pages. That has not changed. A few years back we decided to try a Kindle. It was handy when a book was too bulky to bring along. It also beat the heck out of reading magazines that were six years out of date and covered in germs in a waiting room. We both still prefer a “real” book, but with space and shopping restrictions our Kindles have become our best friends. Reading has definitely prevented any phone calls to lawyers or coroners…so far. Really, all we need is a little more space.

 

 

 

 

 

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With Love

All of my kids are rentals. They always have been. Which is just my adorable way of saying I have no children of my own. Not one. It also means that I can always give them back. I can get them all wound up, feed them sugary delights, let them experience their free will and then completely drop them off at home with their not so unsuspecting parents.

I’m in there somewhere!

It’s the price one pays for having an hour or two of freedom from this…

Apparently, it’s well worth the price.

My first couple of rentals came along when I was still really just a kid myself. I loved babysitting my nephews but they were a handful. Now those two boys have sons that tower over me.
Over the years I accumulated more nieces, nephews, God children and some that just called me “Aunt”. I played with them, fed them and put them to bed. I would take them to fairs, plays and shows. We would sing silly songs. I would tell them stories and we would make things. There was a time when I spent endless hours making them gifts. I always wanted them to have something special to keep that I made especially for them. Sadly, only a few of those things have survived. They made me gifts. I still have every one. I have files of pictures drawn and painted. When they come off the fridge they go into a file. Other things, I proudly display in my home.

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I would also buy them books. I love to read and I wanted to share that with them. I’m proud to say that most of my rentals do love to read and are more grateful for those books now than when they received them.
Now that I am a Grand Aunt, things are different. The biggest change, the one that brought on almost every other change, is the computer. Everything we now own  is computerized. I like to think I keep up pretty well, but at Christmas I got a real awakening. One of my grand nephews took the hand-written card I had attached to his Christmas gift over to his father and asked him to read it to him. I know my grand nephew can read, my penmanship isn’t that bad and it wasn’t a longwinded note (I know, hard to believe) so I asked him why he’d asked his dad to read it.

Grand Nephew: I can’t read writing.
Grand Aunt: What?
Nephew: They don’t teach you how to write in school anymore.
GA: Well, I had heard that, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me that they wouldn’t be able to read it.
N: If they don’t teach him how to write it, how are they supposed to read it.
GA: How does he write his name?
GN: I print it.
GA: No. I mean how do you do your signature.
N: He prints it!
GA: So if he signs a legal document at some point in his life he will just print his name?
N: That’s right.

Then he read the card to his son, “With love, Aunt Michelle and Uncle Paul”.

Over the years I have learned to keep my mouth shut when it comes to rearing children lest I hear those heartbreaking words, “you don’t know, you don’t have kids”, or a reasonable facsimile. How has this happened? I’ve always considered my signature part of my personality. Half the clothes kids wear today have someone’s signature on them.

I guess if I want to communicate with anyone younger than me I am going to have to pick up my printing skills. I have visions of future scientists uncovering some old Christmas cards and trying to decipher them much like we do the hieroglyphics in the caves from prehistoric man.

I feel so old!

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There is nothing so delectable as curling up with a good book. I can think of no better way to wind up a long weekend than to leisurely finish off a good book. He-Who and I are readers. We love books. We have bookcases full of them. They are piled up in corners throughout the house. I confess a Kindle has invaded our home but there is still nothing to compare with the feel, smell or excitement of flipping the page on a real page-turner. We share books…swapping them back and forth, then forward them to my niece who in turn passes them to her friend who reads it and hands it off to her sister and so on. This is something you can’t do with a Kindle.

So, when a recent run into Bowmanville had us parked out front of 185 Church St. we leapt at the chance to walk through the violet-coloured door of the 140 year-old former church. As it says on their website, “Violet Door Books is home to a most eclectic and spirited collection of books, curios and gifts that will fire your imagination and nourish your soul.” The experience actually begins before you even enter the building. To the left of the door are bins with a generous selection of $1 books. To the right of the door are bins with books that are …wait for it…free! It can be quite a while before you finally enter the building, already laden with books.

185 Church St., Bowmanville

When you eventually make it inside, either Bryan or Joanne (sometimes both) will be there to welcome you warmly and help you empty your arms so you can continue on your treasure hunt. Don’t be surprised if this delightful couple (the owners) offer you a cup of tea while you browse.

Books, books and more books take up the right half of the store. These are previously enjoyed books and can be yours for the princely sum of $2.

The left side of the store is quite eclectic. Here you will find bright, shiny new books, jewelry, dolls, boxes, music, candles, crystals, wind chimes, soaps, instruments, bags, clothing, ornaments, baby items and even juggling equipment — and that’s just at first glance! The second look reveals even more. A word of advice: plan for enough time to explore. There are handmade items from Canada, India, Africa and Indonesia. Local authors and creations are featured throughout. My favourite section is the one that holds the children’s books. These are no ordinary children’s books. These are adventures you will want to share with the wee ones in your life. They are books full of learning and magic and fantasy and imagination that your children will treasure all their lives and go on to share with their children.

A few other things you may find interesting…Bryan and Joanne will special-order a book for you…They have an up to date calendar of events on their website…They have created a space that can be made available for meetings or workshops…They have special “Save the Tax” days.

Why are you still reading this? You should be on your way to the “Violet Door” 185 Church Street, Bowmanville, ON, L1C 1T8.

As for me, I am off to finish my book.


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