By Candace Salima, contributor of US Daily Review.
It is not often I sit down and take stock of my life. I know my life’s passions, besides God and my family, are politics and writing. It is what drives me and what fills my soul. The interesting thing? As much as it matters to me is how little it matters to those around me.
Interestingly, 80% of juvenile delinquents are functionally illiterate and yet getting adults to read, showing a good example to their children, is almost impossible. More than 60% of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate. Yet trying to get anyone to listen is like talking to someone blind, deaf and mute.
There are those who would rather play Warcraft, City of Heroes or a multitude of other multiplayer online games and video games then spend time reading to their children. Others would rather play football, basketball, racquetball . . . anything that keeps them from actually having to sit down and read or interact with their families. I’ve heard yet others say they don’t enjoy it and would rather walk over hot coals than read a book. (I’ve had that same reaction to some books too. But there are thousands upon thousands of authors and books. I promise you, if you will look, you’ll find authors you enjoy, and books you cannot put down.) Reading is at the core of all we are, and all we hope to become.
Some of the fondest memories of my childhood were laying on my stomach on the living room floor in front of the fireplace, my chin propped on my hands, listening to my mother read to us every night; the firelight low, the lamp near my mother’s head beaming a circle around her and the moon shining softly through the living room window. These memories are deep and dear. The James Herriot series (All Things Bright & Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, All Creatures Great and Small, And the Lord God Made Them All, just to name a few) was our favorite. The mishaps of this countryside British veterinarian kept us entertained for weeks, months and years on end. I remember tears rolling down our faces as peals of laughter rang through our home. Oh, the situations that man got himself into! And yet, I have spoken to so few people who can relate an even remotely similar, experience.
I grew up in a home surrounded by books. Oh we played football, volleyball, basketball, we danced, we played, we gardened, we prepared and canned our harvests, we went to church and school, we cheered and we played . . . and we read.
My own sweet husband, who is brilliant and very literate, doesn’t like to read either. That’s a hard pill for a published author, such as I, to swallow. To have something I value so greatly be dismissed out of hand is a blow to the soul. Yes, I’m possibly overreacting, but it does hurt. Interestingly, it is not just my husband. Entire segments of the American population react in the same way. I’ve had the following conversation thousands of times:
“Wow, you wrote a book?”
“That is so amazing. I could never do that.”
“Do you like to read?” I reply.
“Oh no,” they say. “I don’t have time for that.”
Death knell to an author and to a nation.
To be continued on Wednesday, 14 September 2011