Tuesday, September 20, 2011

School Days!

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.
-The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

What lines to wake up a child’s imagination! I remember the first time I read those lines, the excited beat of my heart as I sat up and read them again. Here was something! Before that, I’d read nothing but Nancy Drew mysteries and old Romances: Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Bronte, Jean Stratton-Porter. This was something completely new. A world of elves and hobbits and magic that I’d never dreamed of.

This September, I’d like to take a moment to thank all the teachers through my school years that made me pick up a book I had no interest in and read. I never liked doing the book reports and still find a synopsis just as tedious. But those books opened new and wonderful vistas in my mind.

How could I forget the drama and romance of ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’? Old Dan and Little Ann and my very first ‘coon’ hunt. My heart beat frantically for Henry in ‘The Red Badge of Courage’. I went on adventures with Tom and Huck. I delved into the earth and climbed the highest mountain peaks and dove into the sea with Jules Verne.

By seventh grade I was hooked on Ray Bradbury. He’s been my inspiration. His stories are so human, touching on the child in all of us. But it was my seventh grade creative writing teacher who opened my eyes to writing my own stories. I’ve always been a story teller, but she was the first to say I had potential and that I should start putting my stories to paper.

I’ve been writing ever since, in practically every genre there is. Though at the time I fumed at my teachers for making me read books I thought I wouldn’t like, they helped open my imagination to worlds I otherwise would never have seen. Even now, if I get stuck on a scene or chapter in my writing, I just look at my shelves of books, old and new, and become inspired all over again.

Dianne Hartsock

‘Trials of a Lonely Specter’
Coming October 14 from MustItUp


Roseanne Dowell said...

I don't quite share your enthusiasm for books I didn't want to read. I still wouldn't want to read them. I loved to read ever since I learned how. The library was my favorite place to go. I even dreamed of becoming a librarian just so I could work around books and have access to them. The best I was able to accomplish was helping in the school library. But even that I loved.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I recently read War and Peace. Its size had intimidated me for years. What a shame. I was missing out on a great read. I did have a grade 4 teacher who inspired me though. Miss Gilpin. She was a nice lady.

Thanks for reminding me about her. I hadn't thought of her in probably 30+ years.

Pat Dale said...

Reading books has always fascinated me. I may be in the minority, but I never pay attention to what others tell me about a book before I read it. Maybe that's why my reading list is so eclectic. One caveat; I hate to get into a book that bores me after I've read far enough to know what is coming in the next chapter.

Anonymous said...

You know, Roseanne, I'd always wanted to be a librarian for the same reason! Somehow I ended up a floral designer instead. :)

Joylene, I had several teachers that really made a difference in the way I look at the world. You read War and Peace? I'm impressed!

Pat, I agree about the boring books. I used to finish them out of guilt, but now I just put them aside for one I do like. I'll usually try a book if someone recommends it, though.

Unknown said...

I remembering being forced to read "Where The Red Fern Grows" as a child for a book report in school. To this day it remains one of my all time favorite books. Both of my oldest children have read it and when my twins are old enough they'll be "forced" to read it too. :O)

Concilium, July 2012