Writing on Purpose: Reading and How it Inspires Me

How does reading inspire me? What do I like best about reading?  What are my earliest memories about reading?  

Just weeks away from another milestone birthday, I find myself transported back to when I received my very own book on my 9th or 10th birthday.  It was a book I could keep and put on my own shelf. I was so excited. I didn’t have to leave it in the classroom or return it to the library risking a fine if it were late. Today, my shelves are filled with books of many genres but it was easy to spot this particular book this morning. Canadian author Mary Grannan who penned this book of a little freckled girl with pigtails and her many adventures is written in short story style. The book is called “New Maggie Muggins” and although I lost its jacket, its red hard cover has survived the test of time and looks as new as that first day I received it, over 45 years ago.

As an adolescent and young adult I learned very quickly that I enjoyed being alone and losing myself reading about other people’s adventures.  I didn’t know then that I was a classic introvert and preferred the solitude as it permitted me to daydream and become lost in adventures one could only read about! I had strict parents bringing up a daughter, after 3 boys and living in a new country.  I decided that if I'm not going to have a life, I might as well at least see what I am missing!

I built my library on such authors as Sydney Sheldon probably because of the made-for-tv-movies that always followed his bestsellers. Once I read every Sheldon book, I found Lawrence Sanders' detective novels filled with intrigue, murder and always dotted with a little humour from his main character Arch McNally. I loved mysteries because for me, they were the best page turners and it was all about being entertained then.  I read for the sheer pleasure and always looked for authors that had a string of best sellers. They included Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham, James Robert Waller, and Dan Brown. They look great on my shelves as they are all in alphabetical order by author - except of course those in my wicker baskets. They're placed in order by size!

Character driven novels became my go-to-books in my 30's and 40's. Maeve Binchy is by far my favourite and I have read almost all of her books! After each read I would actually stop and wonder about the fate of her characters.  Months later I would still remember them - almost as real people that I should be calling to find out how their life turned out.  I'm easily stirred by her characters and their plights.

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Then I discovered Isabel Allende and her compelling novel the "Daughter of Fortune" about a young woman's heroic yet perilous journey.  She was also a character I would think of and wonder about often.  Rosamunde Pilchner writes with her vivid descriptions of the English country side and those that live there.  Her "Shell Seekers" was a touching novel of family, inheritance, greed and passions that left me still remembering certain scenes as though they were a real memory. More recently "The Book of Negros" by Laurence Hill and "The Cat's Table" by Michael Ondaatje have left an indelible mark on my heart and mind, forcing me to ask hard questions about humanity and why we are driven to do the things we do.  Character-driven novels, unbeknownst to me at the time, were preparing me for the questions about life I was going to begin asking myself.

In the past 18 months, I've discovered authors such as Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsche and many more.  I'm on, it appears a journey of self-discovery.  These authors, and those like them have suddenly caught my attention because now I am ready to seek the answers to those probing questions my generation is beginning to ask.  Who am and why am I here? Suddenly, it appears to be imperative to delve deep into our hearts, mind and soul to face those hard questions, and harder answers. These authors with such books as "The Power of Intention", "The Seven Spiritual Laws" and "Conversations with God" are attempting - and for me, succeeding in shaking up our existence.  "Live - don't just exist!" they seem to scream. "Be kind and love one another", others are writing and making statements like "only love is real" and we somehow know exactly what they are saying.

Reviewing my reading habits over the years in this exercise has allowed me to connect the dots of my life journey and although I have many unread books on my shelves, and baskets, and nooks and crannies, I have learned from many very well!  I am proud to say that mostly all is in alignment in my life, and that my books are for the most part in alphabetical order by author - because that's the only order I can find them in! I look forward to one day owning a home where I can build book shelves with a ladder on rails as was indelibly marked on my mind in the movie "My Fair Lady" with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. The books would line up to almost tell the tale of my own life through the authors I chose to read, and the characters and stories that affected my life.

Update October 2017: Writing has now become an everyday ritual whether it be just for fun or to assist businesses with their content on websites and social media.  Nothing is permanent and everything always shifts and transforms! Et voila!