Back in my naïve youth, I determined that – despite being an English major – I could never go into publishing because “It would ruin books for me.” Oh sweet, sweet twenty-two year old me. Little did you know that you would go five years without reading a book once you had children.
I used to love to read, not just for pleasure but to become enveloped in a book. I used to be sad when I finished a book, because it would mean that I could never read it again for the first time. I remember one time saying, unironically, that it was hard for me to share a physical copy of a book with someone before I was finished with it because it felt like the book was divulging its secrets to someone other than me. Thank goodness I no longer feel that way because (1) pretentious much? but also (2) given that I have started approximately 15 books in the past five years before running out of steam, that would make for quite a long time for the book to keep its secrets.
I was good at reading too. Sometimes I will stumble across a book I read when I was younger and find the margins littered with poetic little gems “Ghosts are memories G can’t see” (obviously). Some things are underlined and some things – I’m guessing the really important things – are double underlined. My personal favorite is the “!” What, I wonder now, had me so worked up?
That’s not to say I’ve been completely away from books. I am a huge fan of audio books. I discovered them when I was nursing my first and had trouble falling back to sleep between feedings. But the books I listen to fall squarely into the category of light reads. For instance, a cat sitter who has a propensity for stumbling upon non-gruesome crime scenes. Or, elderly sisters who have a propensity for stumbling upon non-gruesome crime scenes. You get the idea.
So I am very proud to say that I read an actual, physical book that did not involve a murder, or a single cat. I also discussed that book with some intelligent women who had insight into the book. And we spent at least thirty minutes of our evening focused on the book rather than the intricacies of our children’s bowel movements, the amount of time it takes to get out of the door in the morning, and the amount of snot emerging from our children’s orifices.
It wasn’t my favorite book. It didn’t warrant any exclamation points in the margin (I don’t think). But it got me interested in reading again. And it got me motivated to do something that feels grown up and worldly, because right now the only other thing I do that falls into that category is drinking French wine. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
I am excited to get the literary gears of my brain grinding again. To leave the role of mom behind for a while. To rejoin the world of the literary. And, hopefully, to get smart enough to understand what those memories are that G can’t see. Because honestly, I would really like to know.