Saturday, July 31, 2010


I am going to give you fair warning. I am not exactly sure where this post is going. I should probably do that on every post. Except sometimes I think it is going one place and it ends up somewhere else. No one is more surprised by that than me. Huh. I still have reading on the brain. This is not going to come as a newsflash: there are some people who are readers and some people who are not. Some people read every day; they read journals, magazines, or manuals for their job or to learn how to do something. These people are not readers. They know how to read, but they don't read for the sheer joy of reading.

I could get into the whole nature versus nurture thing on reading. Yawn. Yeah, I am excited about that prospect. Once upon a time I would have sworn that if you read to your kid they would like to read. Now, I am less certain of that. You might sway the odds somewhat, but I think nature factors in there. Plus, I really don't care. Ooooh. Yeah, I am still feeling pissy about H-Girl. She isn't a reader and I read to her plenty. C-Man loves to read. So, I am going with nature. It is kicking nurture's ass right now. Moving on....

Let's talk about me. I have always loved to read. I can't remember a time when I didn't love to read. When we moved back to Ohio, and bought the house in the suburbs of Columbus, which is where we stayed until I graduated high school, my father thought it would be lovely if we heated it with a wood burning stove. There was also a furnace installed (Thank God). The wood burning stove would have been an awesome plan if 1) My dad bought enough wood to last the winter, and 2) He fed the stove during the night and at lunchtime so that the house wasn't freezing in the morning and when we came home from school.

As it happened, the stove was placed far enough out into the living room that you could walk behind it or sit behind it. If I was home after school, you almost always could find me parked behind the wood stove, back to the wall. I started with my homework, but when that was done, I pulled out whatever book I was reading and settled in.

In college, I remember distinctly the day my sophomore year that I stumbled across Jen reading a book for pleasure. That year I was taking all core classes because I had no clue about what I was going to major in. It occurred to me that I hadn't read anything for fun in forever. She had a slew of novels. I was dumbstruck. How did she manage it? It turns out her grades weren't that great, but I didn't know that. She let me borrow one. It was bliss. It was a Sidney Sheldon. I don't even remember which one. I skipped all of my classes that day. I just read. Of course, I couldn't keep that up, but it was wonderful.

I suppose that is why I majored in English. I had no clue about a major and I had to choose something. Why did I pick it? I liked to read. That is the long and the short answer. I got to read until my eyes about popped out of my head for the next two years.

Then I went to work for a publishing house. That is the equivalent of letting an alcoholic work in a bar. Did you know that if you work for a publishing house that there is no book that you can't get for free? None. Everything is yours for the taking. It is just one phone call away. And if you are really good at working it, you can extend that to things like CDs. I never even thought of that. One of my coworkers got a box of CDs in the mail and I just gaped at him like a fool. "How did you do that?" I asked.

He looked at me like the naive pet that I am. I know that he wanted to reach over and pet me like a puppy. "I sent them books, silly girl." Ah, some people know how to work it and some people know how to work it. My admiration went up like ten notches. It must have shown because he let me have a couple of the CDs. Generosity at work. However, he didn't track me down in the future to let me know when he got shipments of CDs. I really shouldn't dwell on the past. He did take me to a Rangers game. Although, I think that is because he is an avid hockey fan and was looking to convert me. Either way. Anyway, it's all better now. Moving on...

I don't remember books departing from my life until I got married, the kids moved in, and the migraines got bad. I had lots of things working against my reading at that point. It was all I could do to hold down my job, take care of the kids, deal with my husband, and try to sleep. And then there were the ongoing migraines from hell. So, there were painkillers at regular intervals just to keep my life afloat. After the divorce, most of the time the migraines were still really bad. Of course, my best times of day were late at night. My sleep pattern was totally messed up. And I was back to living on pain pills if I wanted to go anywhere.

In the summer of 2005, I went to Florida to spend time with my parents. This was before the move. My mother had done everything but tie me to a chair to get me to read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I started reading. I think I read a book and a half a day, and I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself. I felt better that week than I had in a long time.

In the last few days, I have read two Stephanie Plums (15 &16) and started the Sookie Stackhouse series. I am two down on that one. I can't say my migraines are gone, but they are somewhat better. Migraines are triggered in large part by stress. Reading is stress relieving for me, so it stands to reason that it would help.

Not everyone has migraines, but everyone has stress. Take a minute right now to think about what you love to do that relieves yours. Are you doing it? In other words, are you running your schedule or is your schedule running you?


  1. I used to love to read and couldn't wait to finish one book and start another...with the way my life is, I haven't read a book since last year and I miss it! Thanks for posting this and making me realize that I need to make time to start reading again...and relieving some of that stress!!

    PS: Your life is a reality show! I don't know what a vlog is...I've heard of them but I'm not sure what it is! I'll have to check into it! Hope your having a good weekend! Read on!

  2. I think anybody can be a reader...So, I think nurture kicks nature's @ss.
    I have seen it. My oldest daughter loved reading...started reading on her own in fact. sure we did the whole phonics first..but she was reading so well I just stopped trying. I would get books for them, catagorize them and bam...come back an hour later and five or six were missing. She would hide them under her pillow. my youngest...I would try to read 'literature' to her..well, that didn't work. So I started reading what I like to call 'shlock'. Barbie bears etc. I would sneak in poetry by letting her do 'performance art'...we did 'dramatic dance' once to green eggs and ham...that was the most I think I have ever laughed. Finally, I let her read junie b jones if at night we would read a wrinkle in time together.
    Before when I would try to read 'literature'.
    I would get 'booooooooooooooring'...this is borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring'.
    Last night I heard the magic words I have been waiting to hear...
    'mom, after this book...can we get the next one?"
    when I finished the chapter and stopped reading for the night.. it was.
    "Do we have to stop now?"
    Never quit trying..
    oh, and we turned off the tv about 6 months thing we ever did.

  3. Hm...I don't really know. I don't think I deal with stress in a normal way. Sometimes I think that I need some amount of stress to function (like, I always accomplish all my assignments JUST before the deadline, because when I don't feel the pressure, I can't motivate myself to do anything?). As for reading - I love reading, but what I love most about books is the way the story is told. I love the way someone writes more than the actual story (which, of course doesn't mean that if Stephenie Meyer was a better writer I would like sparkly vampires. Hell, no). My only problem is, in 70% of cases (or more) I can't really focus on a book, I get disctracted way too easily...

  4. Excellent post my friend! Stress is a huge culprit of most things that ail us. I have Stress induced migraines as well, so I definitely feel your pain. Generally, I try to remove myself from that which is causing the stress, because for me, my stress is always created by outside influences. Once I remove myself from them, the migraines dissipate. But I also work on crafts and my writing and reading of books and watching movies, so I have plenty of stress relieving outlets.

  5. Misery, there is good stress and bad stress. When I was in school, particularly high school, I functioned at my best when I was in a play or working on some other performance thing for school. That required me to be very organized. I had to schedule my time after school very carefully in order to get all of my homework done. If I had a report or some long-term project or paper going, that made it all the more complicated (and in some ways, good). It created this need for me to be exceptionally organized. My grades were never better than when I had lots of stuff going on. When I had *nothing* going on... well, that wasn't so good. I could lie around at home and put it off. It would be 9pm and I hadn't even started on my homework and then it was uh oh. So, I was never happier than when I was BUSY.

    It sounds like you need to read something that is strictly for fun. What I call a rollicking good read. Not because you want to appreciate how smart the author is, etc. You don't want to learn anything. Something just for fun. The best series ever is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, IMO. The first one is ONE FOR THE MONEY. It isn't the best one, but I am not sure she was planning on it being a series when she wrote it. The characters just get better and better. By the time you get to the third one (THREE TO GET DEADLY), she is in the groove with it. But, when you read a series, you have to start at the beginning. Try reading for FUN. Also, if you are still working on your novel, look at it as a reader and writer. I have found that to be ENLIGHTENING.

  6. I LOVE to read. I wish I started my career in a publishing house.


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