I started to write something on Saturday, my birthday. Out-of-town guests arrived earlier than anticipated so I set it aside. Distractions of a football nature took over on Sunday, Monday went missing, and yesterday became yesterday. So here I am, four days later, beginning again. We do a lot of that, don’t we? Starting over, beginning again. Well, I do. And I know what I might’ve written then, won’t be what I write today – even if I include the opening paragraphs here:
On my fourth birthday, I wore my Davy Crockett T-shirt. I was King of the Wild Frontier and mom made me a cake shaped like an old train. Five years later I had a costume pirate party, and mom made a pirate ship cake. Clearly my imagination took me on adventures to far-flung places from a very young age.
When I was eleven I wrote and performed a school play about Roland, a medieval pageboy who saved the castle from marauding invaders. During summer vacation, by day I’d mow the lawn dreaming I was Huckleberry Finn on a river raft. And when the stars came out at night I’d take a spaceship to Mars with Ray Bradbury.
Now, where was I going with this? Obviously, it had to do with books and how there was no better birthday gift to get or to give. Oh. Now I remember. I was going to suggest that for my birthday, what I most wanted was for you to buy yourself a book – print or digital, from a bookshop or online. It doesn’t matter whether you choose a fun summer read, or something more challenging. (And I’m not suggesting it be mine, since it won’t be released until September.)
I like seeing what people I know are reading via Goodreads. One friend just read a book by another friend – and they don’t even each other. I like getting ideas from other authors. A few days ago I read an interview with my favorite crime writer of late, Alison Gaylin (her Brenna Spector series is fantastic!) and was delighted to find that some of her favorite books were also mine. Maybe that’s why I like her style so much.
Last week I saw a suggested summer reading list by James Franco. (Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoy following his exploits on social media.) I’d read five of them already – all excellent – so, of course, I’m curious about the ones I never heard of. My growing To Read list is already impossibly long – and I see no chance of it ever getting any shorter.
So get yourself a book. Give a book to someone else. Share what you’re reading, what you’ve read, what you want to read. That’s my belated birthday wish for you all. And if you need a suggestion, just ask. I’m sure I can think of something you’ll enjoy! It might even take you on some far-flung adventure.
David,may I share this with my first year writing class? I do believe that college students do not read enough.
Thanks for your thoughts. Did you have a coon skin cap?
Thx, Mari! Of course you can share it. Even if it encourages one student to read more, it’s worth the effort. Especially writing students! Let’s meet again next time I’m in Boston.