Literary Madness : Through the Darkness

Literary Madness

by Cypher Lx on 06/18/11

18 June 2011

Long before I started writing, I had a passion for reading.  My parents always had books in the house.  Even if I didn't understand a lot of what I read (I had a habit of picking up books that were way beyond my reading level) I tried anyway.  When I was in elementary school, there was classroom book lending aside from the library.  The books were categorized according to grade level.  Again, I would try to choose a book above my age bracket.  We would have to show the book to the teacher so that he/she would approve it for us to read.  This is where I hit constant roadblocks.  I remember vividly choosing a book that the "gifted" students had read and I wanted to read it, too.  I wasn't in the gifted program.  I found out later that I would have hated it anyway.  In my school district (at least when I was there), being of higher intelligence meant that you had to do even more work than the average student.  But I digress.  When I picked up this particular book, I was told that I wasn't allowed to read it because it was above my reading level by at least two grades.  I cried.  How fair is that to say to a child who loves to read?  Fortunately, my parents didn't share that attitude.  My parents are also avid readers, so there were frequent trips to Walden Books.  That's where I realized there was a whole lot more out there than just children's books that my teachers wouldn't grant me access to.  I discovered Stephen King and Agatha Christie.  Yes, toward the end of elementary school, while my peers were still reading only what was approved by stingy teachers, I was reading Salem's Lot and And Then There Were None.  So began my passions for horror and mystery.  By the time I neared the end of middle school, I was reading on a college level.  So much for the opinions of public school teachers.  I pity the students who never dared to contest such attitudes.  They may never have learned the appreciation for books that I have.  My passion for reading has only gotten stronger over the years.  If I really like a book, I can easily plow through it in a few short days depending on how much time I have.  If I don't like a book, it takes about a week.  I actually go through reading withdrawal if I don't have a new book.

There are a few lessons to be learned here.  One of the biggest ones is that reading as much as I do created my passion for writing.  If other people could tell stories, why couldn't I?  I actually wrote a complete novella back in high school and, if I can find the darned computer disk, I will more than likely edit and publish it.  Another lesson?  I have discovered that some of the best novels are not produced by big publishing companies, but by independent authors that couldn't get picked up by an agent.  The reasoning behind this is different for each author.  Mainly, it's due to what public demand is at the time.  I don't know what the current trend is right now (except for zombies, of course), but I don't write for the current trend. I write what's in my head and many other authors do the same.  I strongly suggest picking up an independently published novel and giving it a test drive. You may be pleasantly surprised.  I also found that balancing both passions can result in a lack of sleep.  When I read, I get so involved that I don't want to stop.  The same thing happens if I'm really into what I'm writing.

The last, and probably most important, lesson?  Never, EVER, discourage a child from reading.  It's the worst possible thing you can do to their fragile psyche.  To tell a child that they're not smart enough for a certain book will only tell them that they're not smart enough to do other things they may have been interested in.  Even though I overcame the reading obstacle that was so blatantly placed in front of me, it had me doubting other things that I had to do in school.  As a result, I stopped caring.  It has taken me several years to realize my potential.  I just recently graduated college with a B.A. in Psychology and a 3.36 GPA while working full-time, writing, and dealing with regular life.  (I still managed to find time to read.) I owe all my thanks to the people who encouraged me and said I could do it.  And to the teachers of years past who tried to dissuade me from trying? Too bad.  I did it anyway.


Comments (1)

1. Mom said on 6/19/11 - 06:32AM
"Standing Ovation" for an Outstanding daughter. I am sooo proud of you for overcoming the obstacles that others put in your way. I am glad that we were at least able to help get you the books that you needed to satisfy your love and passion for reading and knowledge. Love, Mom

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