Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Being a Writer Spoils Everything
Well, almost everything.
The Kiddo is a passive sort of reader. I am ashamed to admit that. I am ashamed to admit that she prefers me reading to her than to go off in a corner and read by herself. I have to remind myself that she is only eight, and I try to recall, in the dim recesses of my mind, what I was reading on my own at 8.
It's hard for me to ever remember a time I wasn't a voracious reader. But I do have a clear recollection of the time reading became a fantabulous way to while away the hours.
When I was 9, I'd moved to a new and larger school that boasted a larger library than the one at my previous school. I was amazed because at this school, there was no imaginary line down the middle, and no librarian patrolling that line, saying, "You're too little for these books."
I was allowed to check out any book of my heart's desire at this new library. And when my eye fell upon a shelf of Nancy Drew mysteries, that was my heart's desire.
Carolyn Keene, a pseudonym, I know now, was the first author I glommed. I loved Nancy Drew. She was so smart and so with it, and I wanted a blue roadster like hers and strawberry blond hair like hers and to be able to have terrific adventures like she did.
I can credit Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden with a large part of my love for writing and reading. So naturally, I wanted to share that with The Kiddo. It was a proud day when we checked out The Kiddo's very first Nancy Drew mystery for our nightly reading time together.
Imagine my disappointment when I started reading THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK and I encountered hopping heads and adverbitis and passive language.
I've hid it well (I hope) from The Kiddo. But as I'm reading, I find myself thinking, "I liked this? I really enjoyed this?"
Yes, I've moved on and grown more sophisticated. But there are some books that stand the test of time: the Beverly Cleary books, for instance, and even though they weren't around in my childhood, I'll fight you for a Junie B. Jones book.
The Kiddo has finally gotten into THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK -- and I suspect that's more because the chapters are shorter and the writer started using cliffhanger chapterhooks. I make it a point to torture The Kiddo and not allow us to go beyond a chapter. Maybe, just maybe, she'll sneak around and start reading ahead on her own.