Last night I lay in bed thinking of Maia.. Her bed. Her big full size, pillow top bed with a dog and a cat and a Dylan.
Maia is away at college and although I am incredibly proud of her I am sad and I miss her. I get calls from her telling her well she is doing and the A’s she is getting. She is one smart cookie. I wonder where she got that. I’m book smart.. I really am.. But math science etc.. Screw that… I scored really high on my IQ test for English skills but the math score dropped me back to normal.
I looked at all the books on her shelf. Reading over the last 4 years. All different kinds of classics vamp books and cheesy early high school reading. All her childhood books were destroyed when we lived in Seattle by rats that got in our attic. All her Dr Seuss, PD Eastman, That guy who wrote Danny The Dinosaur etc…
When we dropped her off at school I noticed a Seussean theme all over campus. Book titles.. EVERYWHERE.. I had a big comfort in knowing with Seuss fans she was safe.. Turns out each of the orientation leaders had a book as a theme to go on. Maia’s roommate was in the “One Fish” group and Maia was in the “Grinch” group.
They used the books to help the kids get insinuated into college living..
She got the book thing from me one hundred percent. I am a nerd. Have been since day one. My mom said I read my first word at age 3.. To be fair let’s say I was almost four. I was reading on my own way before kindergarten started so they had no problem putting me in older reading groups. When I look back I realize two things led to this early reading I did.. One I needed glasses.. Badly.. Books were up close and easy to focus on. And Two I was ADD as all get out.. I could shut my exterior business off by reading a book.
When I was in second grade they finally realized I needed glasses.. At this point I was reading books which are now ready by fifth graders. I could not see the clock.. When asked why I kept asking what the time was I said well if they moved the clock down so we could all see it we might know when lunch was. I thought everyone couldn’t see the damn clock.
My glasses were ugly and thick.
Making me more of a nerd.
By 6th grade I had contacts.
But the NERD stigma was there…
I spent all my time at the public library and bookmobile. I read a few books a day. My mom never skimped on those book orders. I did chores of course to earn them.. Barbies and books.. My life was set.
I saw book readings from Richard Bach among others. My library card was worn out. I never met a library I couldn’t like until I moved to Brier Washington.. That library sucked.. I still have nightmares in a Stephan King Fashion about the Library Police and the little old ladies that knit there.
When I got older and discovered bookstores I was doomed. Though truth be told I never saw Barnes and Noble till we moved to Washington.. Bell Sq. had the most awesome B and N.. We went there weekly.. Maia never had to want for books.. She was given books as young as 3 months old to chew and to learn.
Don’t even get me started on Portland and Powell’s.
There a few things I didn’t do.. Book Clubs…no not the ones where you order ten books and get a free bag.. I did those.. NO the groups of women who talk books. I love a good book reading yes.. By the author of course..
I did at least one a week during my 14 years in Seattle..
No I can’t stand discussing the books I read.. And unless the author is discussing with me I hate to see other people read books aloud.
Two people who stand out for book signings.. Ridley Pearson and Ann Rule.. I have been to a dozen book signings by each.. And a couple with Ridley and Dave Barry .. Comic writer..Awesome guy. Real sweet.. Wrote a book called “Babies and other hazards of sex” I highly recommended it.
They worked on a book called “Peter and the Starcatchers” together.. Awesome co-writing.
The weird thing to me about books is.. I want to feel what the author wrote.. I guess as a writer this is very important to me.
I don’t want a third party reading it to me.
I was never big on having books read to me by my mom as a kid either..
Though as a grownup I did read to her a few times when she was ill in the hospital.. The usual.. a few Suess, that “ I Love You Forever” book “ Goodnight Moon” and Peter Rabbit” among a few others that as a teacher are her faves..
I needed to feel the words on paper.. I needed to digest them myself.
Books are meant to be READ!
Dyl and Jack bed to go to the bookstores now.. They both read.. And Jack reads like Maia and I do.. All the time..
As I was unpacking Maia’s things at her dorm room I saw she brought a few of her fave books.. One she had just gotten as a gift from just me..Dr Seuss “Oh The Places You’ll go.” I had to excuse myself and cry.
As I am crying now.
She will call me to discuss books.. Share quotes..Etc.. She called to ask me why Oscar Wilde wrote about women who are week.. I had to explain to her that I think Oscar might have actually really not liked women. “Dorian Grey” is not a kind book. It’s a very repressed book. She hated it at first but I think she gets it now. Her “lit and art” class will also be reading “The Girl With The Pearl Earring”.. Among a few other classics I had to read myself in college.
I told her to take all the words to heart.. There is no such thing as a favorite book to a book lover.. All books affect us like art at different times..
Much like music.
We move with the moods.
I am very proud of her to combine all the love of things into her college career. Tonight she starts her first shift as a DJ at the college radio station. Her Co- DJ is a wonderful book reader with great musical taste. They named their show after one of my fave Edgar Allen Poe stories. This in fact is one of Maia’s. “Tell-Tale Hearts” thump thump..
When Maia was in sixth grade she had a little Edgar Allen Poe figure she got at Archie Macphee’s toy emporium in Seattle… She still has it..
I miss her.
And I am so incredibly proud of her…