I may still be coming off a tryptophan high after all of last week’s Thanksgiving turkey (and let’s not discuss the carbs, shall we?). The winding toward year-end combined with the holidays always get me thinking. Like many, I spent a little time this past week or so thinking about gratitude. As I near the half-century mark (truly, only 15 months away), I find myself retracing my youth and wondering how I became the person I am today. Sure, my parents, siblings, teachers and friends all had a hand in shaping my personality.
And so did books.
I was a voracious reader from early childhood. Famous in my family for being able to sit in a corner of the noisy living room while my dad watched television, Mom was on the phone planning volunteer events, my sister and her friends were laughing and talking and my brother and his friend were strumming a guitar and treating every object in the room like a set of drums. Oh yeah, add in a Siberian Husky chasing a cat through the room and you get a glimmer of the chaos that was my childhood. Pretty typical, right?
But I was oblivious to most of the chaos and even the direct conversation because I had my nose in a book. I was lost in some other world the author had created until that moment when my mom would pluck the book from my fingertips, lean in and say, “For the eighteenth time, Amy, it’s time for dinner.” She always said it with a smile.
I was a dreamy child, one who never minded playing by myself. My mind was filled with so many stories that I was never at a loss for friends or conversation. They were all there in my head. I had no idea at the time that those characters in my head would lead me to study drama and one day encourage me to write my own stories for publication.
So, I wanted to express my gratitude to authors in general for making me THINK and making me FEEL. For teaching me to EXPLORE and to EXPERIMENT. For taking me on JOURNEYS that spanned the GLOBE without leaving my chair. For helping me learn that CONFLICT does not always mean DEFEAT and that VICTORY can come in many GUISES. For showing me that people, like characters, often come in layers that combine GOOD and BAD, RIGHT and WRONG. And for sharing the JOY of the WRITTEN WORD.
In particular, I give thanks to these authors:
- E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web)
- Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series)
- Walter Farley (The Black Stallion series)
- William Shakespeare (English Renaissance Drama)
- Georgette Heyer (Regency romances)
- Elswyth Thane (The Williamsburg novels)
- Dick Francis (British mysteries featuring horse racing)
- Kathleen Woodiwiss (steamy historical romances)
- Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts)
- Tom Clancy (The Hunt for Red October and military adventures)
- Dorothy L. Sayers (Peter Wimsey mysteries)
- Judith McNaught (historical and contemporary romance)
- Jean M. Auel (Clan of the Cave Bear series)
Okay, I started with a list of five, but it kept growing. I could name dozens of other authors who have given me hours of enjoyment (I even enjoyed the parts where I cried), kept me up late turning pages (and lately, flipping screens) and showed me people and worlds and ideas that inspired me.
So, how about you? Are there any authors you’re grateful for? Anything you were inspired to do that you “blame” on books?