I owe a great debt to authors…of every kind. First, I owe a great debt to literary authors. They have educated and entertained me for decades. The first author that gave me a love for reading was Dr. Seuss. I started reading “On Beyond Zebra” and when I couldn’t pronounce some of the words, my father took over and read it to me until tears ran down my face from laughter. Because of that author, I was hooked. Reading could be fun, entertaining, and heaven forbid…educational.
From there, I read a few hundred books growing up. We had a screened-in porch, and during the hot summer months, I spent a lot of afternoons reading. When my parents went to the World’s Faire in New York, they dropped me off at my aunt and uncle’s place in Washington. Far from any library, the only thing to read was the Encyclopedia Britannica, which I did in my spare time. I think I only got through C, as I remember having a hard time trying to figure out how to pronounce Czechoslovakia. My aunt’s favorite line was, “Get your nose out of those books and go outside and play!” There was no one to play with in the country, so it was kind of a mute point. After a few minutes doing cartwheels on the front lawn, I would come back in and continue reading.
As I grew up and went to high school, authors took me to far away places and made me think deeply about issues. Nevil Shute’s “On the Beach” left a lasting impression on me as did Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” Throughout college, I didn’t do much outside reading as the college professors kept me busy with their list of required reading (Ugh!).
As an adult, I continue to read for pleasure and information. I love historical fiction where I can kill two birds with one stone, i.e. be entertained and learn a bit more about history. Every author has become a passing friend to me as I read their books and got to know them a bit in the process. Some authors are literary giants and others are those who expanded my mind and allowed me to see into their different worlds.
There are other kinds of authors who have affected my life. My five brothers for example, whom I would have called “The Authors of Chaos and Confusion” during my childhood. There are “The Authors of Domesticity,” those poor souls who were tasked with teaching me to clean and cook, no matter how unwilling I was. There are “The Authors of a Disciplined Mind,” those unappreciated nuns at Sacred Heart Academy who forced me to do homework and pushed me to learn more than I ever wanted to…a belated thank you, wherever you are.
Then, there is my favorite author, Jesus Christ, the “Author and Finisher of my Faith.” He took an unwilling, undisciplined adult and through no virtue of her own, placed in her the gift of an Eternal Faith. I shudder to think of where she would be without Him. I’m sure she would be long gone, since she was bent on pursuing many worldly avenues, without much regard for social mores or her own safety, for that matter.
So to all the authors who have enriched my life…you have my deepest appreciation!