This paper was written for my composition class that I took in the Fall semester of 08' We were told to write about our earliest reading and writing experiences. Enjoy!
I remember most of my lazy carefree childhood days fondly. Lazy days spent in the backyard pool floating around for hours looking up at the bright blue sky and getting a sunburned face. Early evenings spent lying in the grass enjoying the smell of it while I decided what shape the clouds were. One of my fondest memories of those carefree days of my childhood was lying in my room reading any book I could get my hands on.
When I was younger and had nothing better to do I spent hours reading. Sometimes I would spend an entire day reading. Sometimes I could read an entire novel in one day. I am not talking about War and Peace but Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series, Nancy Drew mysteries, “Super fudge”, “Are You There God it’s me Margaret” and “The Hobbit” by JRR Tolkien were some of my favorites.
I would also get books off of my parent’s book shelves in the living room. “Jaws” by Peter Benchley kept me out of the pool for half of the summer and I spent the other half panicking and racing for the edge. I was sure there was a huge shark after me that was going to eat my bottom half before I could scramble out of the pool. “Coma” by Robin Cook was another intriguing book I found very suspenseful and full of adult type themes. Some of it I understood and some not but I just couldn’t stop reading. I read every summer, all summer.
In contrast, writing was always something I dreaded. The earliest writing assignment I remember having was in third or fourth grade I really can’t remember now. The subject our teacher gave us was to choose an animal native to North America and write a report on it. Oh happy day! I have always loved animals so this was going to be fun.
I chose to write about the skunk. I don’t remember the reason for this choice at all, as they are not one of my favorite creatures now. I vaguely remember learning that there were several species of skunk all across North America. I do not remember exactly which one I chose but I believe it was the largest of the North American Skunk species.
I labored for hours at the school library and at home reading about the territory of the skunk, their reproduction habits, where they went in the winter, their natural predators, their diet, that different species have different white stripes down their backs and of course about those wonderful stinky glands. I kept my family abreast of every new discovery and fact, much to their dismay I am sure. I toiled night after night on this skunk report and then the day finally came to turn it in. I had created my own report cover with red construction paper and a copied picture of a skunk. I’m sure I was beaming with pride as I set it on the teacher’s desk.
Sadly I don’t remember my grade although I don’t see how it couldn’t have been an A. Even if the report was awful the effort I had put into it was clear.
This report really changed my thinking about writing. I am by no means a great writer but I do enjoy writing the occasional blog and in my adult life I have taken writing classes just for the heck of it. I realize now that it is almost impossible to love reading and not at least appreciate writing.
I really miss those carefree days when I was free to lay in bed all day and read if that is what I wanted to do. And the days in class where writing a two page report on skunks made me happy. These days I just don’t have the time to read much or write when I want to. There is always work, school, and a never ending list of chores around the house. Every once in a while I am able to spend time reading and writing and my favorite thing about it is still the way I am
transported to another time and place. In this stage of my life that part seems to be the most important reason of all to take the time to read and write.