Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Books/Stories/Plays: A trip worth remembering pt 1

After such a long title, how should I start? As I was reading the "O" magazine I ran across the part where well known people talk about what is on their bookshelves. I found the concept fascinating. Then I got to thinking about how various works had left impressions over the years. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to take a trip down memory lane. In this, the first in a series of the works that had an impression on me, I intend to look at the early years of my life.

According to the stories my mother tells, even as a very small child I demanded to be read to. That may be the reason that my primary way of learning is auditory. She says by the age of three I could recite most of stories in the "Childcraft" books, to the point where I was turning the pages at the appropriate point. By the time I started school I was more than ready to read. Fate however stepped in and I spent most of my first year of school, sick at home or in the hospital. The school was a three room schoolhouse and the early grades had three grades per room. The teacher passed me that year and I joined my classmates in second grade and caught up with the first grade lessons at the same time. I bring this up for the teacher also read to us each day. I remember Edgar Rice Burroughs "Tarzan" books as she read a chapter each day. She may have read others, but those have stayed with me all these years.

In the later grades of elementary I started reading the "Black Stallion" series by Walter Farley. In that same time period I also read the poem "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. Both works allowed my imagination to roam and I do believe it was then that I started writing. The Alfred Noyes poem was especially important to me. The story of love, sacrifice, jealousy and death made a great impression. I know I wrote poems for I found some a few years back. I also remember writing plays and attempting to put them on with my brother and neighbors. Unfortunately none of those survived. Still it was a time of learning to read and having the world open up for me.

I shall follow up next time with middle and high school.

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the natural world as home said...

The Walter Farley books are always a favorite at my horseback writing retreats. I've compiled a 21-page list of the favorite horse books from all the partipants and it truly is fun to be linked through a common literary love. Thank you for reminding us how much a part of ourselves are the books we read.

Cynthia S. Becker said...

Reading to children has a magical effect. Once, and only once, I was a substitute teacher for a day in a fourth grade classroom. The children were restless, distracted, and downright naughty. I was exhausted by noon. The teacher's lesson plans indicated she read a chapter of a book to the class after lunch. The current book was in the top drawer of her desk with a place marker. By the time I reached the end of the first page, the whole class was quiet and attentive for the first time that day. I kept reading and they kept listening. We finished the whole book just before going home time!

I.M. Buffaloed said...

Not exactly a Western, but without Germaine Greer's 1972 edition of The Female Eunich, I'd never have become a writer and I probably might not have made it to 2009.

Linda Sandifer said...

My favorites were anything to do with horses or dogs. I loved the Black Stallion series and dog books like "The Call of the Wild" and "Where the Red Fern Grows." Being raised on a farm/ranch, I suppose it was natural for me to gravitate to books I could relate to, and, like many young girls, I was crazy about horses and we always had a dog. Interesting post; it looks like many of us western writers liked the same books.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful topic! The books that came quickly to mind for me are those written by James Herriot Tony Hillerman. Both authors captured a love for animals and the natural world in such a way that they have remained with me over the years.