At age eight, books turned from escape to pure magic. I would read them out loud to anyone or anything that cared to listen from the perch in a tree house my friends and I had constructed in the little stretch of woods that ran behind our houses and the neighborhood next to the lake.
In Books & Beginnings I my mother brought me A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine D’Engle. At the time, the book had been out for more than ten years but to me it was fresh and new. This was one of my earliest influences apart from the obvious. These great books will continue in the general order I discovered them.
I read madly. It was late in my 8th year or early in my 9th year, I became enamored of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Those I would read every year through my university studies. And then there was C.S. Lewis – it started with The Chronicles of Narnia. These were the obvious influences on the writer I grew into. I found great truths in these volumes that many cast aside as trite fantasy.
I discovered Agatha Christie and her mysteries in the shelves of my mother’s family beach house along with a constant deluge of mysteries and thrillers that my parents called “beach cozies”. I read them all.
As my eighth year ended, my grandmother on my father’s side, began my instruction in two areas I loved, history and theater. We began to attend plays together and she instructed me on European history going back to.before the Romans began their conquest.
It was these stories that influenced the next great beginnings. It was near my ninth birthday when my mother dug deeper into her bookshelves and came out with a thin book of poetry, the most gorgeous verse I had ever imagined, and a thick paperback that encased a story based on that verse.
Up to my treehouse I went. The birds, squirrels, snakes, my English Springer, Winston, standing guard below, and myriad of insects, and the neighbor’s fat orange hunting cat joined me on an adventure that changed the way I thought of story. I read every word out loud, staying until the light was too dim for me to read another word. It made me often late for dinner.
By the time I received this amazing book, the pages were browned with age, making the story all the more authentic to me. I loved the scent and feel of old books on my fingers. The opening of this volume suggested a routine life familiar to my own. One that sparked into adventure … and great tragedy. I never gave this book back to my mother. It became one of my treasures. Can you guess the title?
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays it was Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the week it was Organon, Repetition, and Astrology. The governess was always getting muddled with her astrolabe, and when she got specially muddled she would take it out of the Wart by rapping his knuckles.