The Word


Books, Personal / Friday, July 13th, 2018

There was a time when I forgot how much I loved to read.

As a kid I would read constantly. I would stay up late reading by nightlight, I would go to the library regularly. I spent a Saturday moving around the house in various sitting positions reading John Grisham’s The Client. We got gift certificates to a bookstore every Christmas and I would pour over every shelf to pick out new writers. When my family travelled to Toronto we made a point of visiting the “world’s biggest bookstore.” The first Chapters in Ottawa was big news.

Even when I went away to college I would go and spend an hour or more in Chapters. That’s where I found the first two novels by someone who is now one of my favourite authors.

I don’t remember when I stopped reading as much. When I lived in Fort Frances there was no bookstore and no time. When I was in university, I spent so much time reading things I had to that I didn’t spend much time reading for pleasure.

There were a few years when I lost that part of myself that would rather read. TV was so much easier, especially when I was so exhausted from just trying to live and work.

A couple of years ago I met Ami McKay at the Ottawa Writers’ Festival. I don’t remember what made me pick up The Birth House, but once I read it I started recommending it. I bought it for my father for Christmas and was disappointed to find it after he died, untouched. He would have enjoyed it.

After reading her first book, I immediately bought her second and third books as soon as they came out, and I will continue to buy any and every book she writes. You don’t get a lot of authors that you know you’ll love, no matter what, but she’s one for me. Ami McKay, Colum McCann, Jasper Fforde.

When I met Ami McKay I told her that The Birth House was a book that reminded me how much I loved reading. It was the truth. It was a spark.

The trouble I have is that around the time I forgot how much I loved diving into a good book, I also seemingly lost the creativity I had always had when it comes to writing. I thought for a while it was a lack of ideas, but that’s not it either. There’s a block from my head to the finish. It makes me so sad some days.

There are days when I would give anything to open a new notebook or a blank document and fill pages for hours. But I don’t.

At some point I should replace that don’t too. Until then, I’ll keep reading.

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