Words and Photos by Rebecca T. Dickinson
I hate plants. Perhaps I should x-out my opening sentence, and put something more appropriate. But, I do hate plants. I admire them from far away or I take pictures, but I have nothing to do with a garden.
Water nurtures the seed and soil. I know that much. Reading is the water to my writing. I feel without a strong reading life, I cannot possibly be a good writer.
A few months ago, a man interviewed me, and he asked me to audition by demonstrating my editing/ copyediting skills on his first chapter. The man worked as an engineer and understood technical writing. He said, “I haven’t read a book in twenty-five years. Don’t have time for it.”
Now he’d written a book. In his interview for a contract editor, he wanted someone well-read so he asked about the kind of books I had read.
After my audition as one of the finalists he had picked, I did not get the job. Okay, that’s cool. More opportunities have knocked on my window, but I never forgot what he said.
Books are like a great love story for me. It’s not just taking a book off my bookshelf and reading it. A story begins the moment I either look for a book, or a book enters my life.
About two months ago, my grandmother came to visit. My husband pulled some of his books out of storage. Between the two of us, we own a library and most of our books have to stay in storage for now. My grandmother looked at all the books that were once sold as paperbacks in a corner drugstore.
“Some people would look at you funny because you bought a cheap paperback,” my grandmother said and smiled. “They were considered dirty books, and now and then you just need a good dirty book.”
The paperbacks John pulled out were not pornographic. They had sold as paperbacks because they were not the classics. My books, like myself, do not share the age of my husband’s books. A good age difference exists between us, but it has not stopped us from looking at each other’s collections or swapping stories about where we found our favorites.
As for my grandmother, she felt she could not survive without books. I wrote about her relationship with literature in the post, In the Time of Hitler. My great-grandmother owned two “books” Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogue and the Bible.
What is one of your favorite stories behind a book?