As I’ve mentioned before, books have always been my companion. Every spare moment I had my mom would find me in a corner reading Little Women, Eight Cousins and Old Fashioned Girl; Betsy, Tacy and Tib; Little House on the Prairie; Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. I fully acknowledge to having what Anne Shirley would call “a thrill” whenever I hear those titles. I could (and have) read those books time and time again. The stories cannot become stagnate. Each book truly is what Ernest Hemingway calls “a loyal friend.
I practically lived in those stories when I was little. Even when I was not reading them, I was play acting them in my daydreams, in my games of house and basing my own little short stories off my favorites. I knew my characters inside and out and would defend them devotedly against any attack by my brother against my “lame books,” (admittedly, I did neglect my siblings a little too much thanks to my obsessive reading habits).
Each of those books presented me with a different reality than my daily life. Instead of wearing jeans and a t-shirt, these girls wore long skirts, blouses, boots, coats and hats; they rode horses (it is a permanent dream of mine to live in a place where I can own and ride horses); they wrote with quill pens; they had pocket watches; they used candles; they used old fashioned phones; they got telegrams and hand written notes in the mail. Need I say more? Everything in these books presented itself in such a way that I wanted it. I wanted to be an “old fashioned girl.” I tried to create this fictional world within my own, even if it was just in my head.
Those books, even today, still influence my thinking and my daydreams, drawing me to latch on to any sense of romanticism or sentimentality I can get my hands on in my daily life. Something as simple as sitting in a rocking chair reading a book, soft light from our lamp glowing on the pages, a warm blanket over my lap, rain dripping off the eaves of my house and a cup of tea warming my very soul, immediately transports me to when “Anne did the same thing!” or Sitting at my desk (glasses on) with a pen in hand, sheets of paper crumpled and strewn all over my floor, hair all a mess and finally…it clicks! I get it! I start scribbling furiously and *bam* what I was trying to create all along is there on a piece of paper. “Woah! This is just like when Betsy finally wrote that short story and got it published and…” Yea, I move fast.
There is something special about that feeling and I owe it to all of those books set in “old fashioned times.” I am truly beginning to see how what I read as a little girl does shape part of who I am today. It is not that those books shaped my character. No. My character was shaped by the undying efforts of my dear parents who have raised me up in the admonition of the Lord. No, these books have helped shape my personality. Part of how I think about the little things of life. I am someone who still finds joy in the old and in the small things, that in the end are so much bigger than we can ever imagine.
This is the first time I’ve ever tried to put these thoughts into words. It felt really good. I hope that it made sense to more than a few of you.