One cannot help but reminisce this time of year. The end of the year makes you think of everything that happened and that you did not achieve in the ending year. The new year entices you with endless possibilities. This year I am thinking a lot about books and writing. I made the serious, and somewhat terrifying, step this year of quitting my day job. My goal is for 2018 to be all about growing with my passion and creating new income streams as a result.
Quite unrelated in many respects, I find myself thinking a lot about the books that have shaped me up to this point. I have always been a book lover. The first chapter book I read was Charlotte’s Web. I believe I was in first grade. I cannot remember exactly how old I was. What I do remember vividly is how excited I was to be transformed into a new world and the intoxicating power of words. I sat on my bed missing dinner and whatever my family was watching on television, completely engrossed in the world opening around me.
I was utterly devastated when I finished the book. Everyone knows how it ends, but as a child I was not prepared to deal with such a catastrophe. At the same time, I was overjoyed at the accomplishment of reading such a big book by myself. I ran around the house telling my family what I had done and that I was going to be a writer. I began writing that day and have never stopped.
While Charlotte’s Web was my first, my favorite children’s chapter books were the Chester Cricket and His Friends Series by George Selden and Garth Williams. A profound mentor and teacher read The Cricket in Times Square to my class with the intention of instilling a love for writing and for reading. I do not know if any of the other students were touched, but I was deeply moved. I hated for the story to end. To my great delight, my teacher told us that there were additional books that carried on the story. A sequel book? I had never imagined such a wonderful prospect before.
I read as many of the books as I could find, which was not as easy then in a rural elementary school. My love of reading was cemented. I could not help but envision the wonderful series of books I would ultimately write.
Writing a series has always been my intention. As I grew older, and then older still, I have struggled with focus. Even when I start a story I love, such as when writing Getting Home, I find myself telling only a finite part of the character’s life. I can only tell one story before my mind is off chasing another character. Still, the desire is strong with me to this day. I am rereading the Anne of Green Gables books in an attempt to remind myself why I love series books so much. I also am hoping to teach myself that not every part of a protagonist’s story must have huge, earth altering events. It is good to write about some of the mundane events that provide additional color and substance to the tale.
As you can see from this simple blog post, my mind tends to run in multiple directions at the same time. My intention was to write about The Cricket in Times Square and how that series changed my view of reading and writing. My mind had other ideas and so this wandering post was formed.
All three of the books I have mentioned are excellent. If you have children, I highly recommend all of them. Although I love them all, I must be partial. The Chester Cricket Series is and always will be my favorite.
Did you have a series that you particularly loved or that your children love today? If so, please leave your comments below.