This is an essay by Laura Lovell.
My Introduction to Reading
As a kid I can remember staying up past my bedtime reading under my covers with a flashlight. Why I ever thought my mom was unaware of what I was doing under my illuminated comforter, is beyond me. I remember reading my childhood favorites, “A Fly Went By” then “Superfudge” and later the classic “Are you there God? It’s Me Margaret”. I was a child who loved to read. Anything I could get my hands on. I have always been a dreamer with an over active imagination so books helped ease my dreamy soul.
I read through high school and as a young adult more so than most of my friends, having acquired a taste for romance. I recall reading old harlequin romance novels from age 18-20, just about every single night. I would always read them in one night, took me about 3-4 hours and I would fall happily asleep thinking about my prince charming out there who would just touch my hand and jolts of electricity would explode in the air as we stared into each others eyes. I know, was I naive or what?
I lost my rose colored glasses when I was 21 and had my first son, as a single mom. The only thing I read after that day was “What To Expect When Your Expecting” type books. I no longer read for pleasure but for information, and we all know that reading about things that don’t interest us can suck every bit of fun out of reading and you develop “reading enjoyment amnesia.”(yes, I self diagnosed this made up but serious disorder). From there, I had 3 more children and my informational reading increased to the newspaper on occasion, a recipe book, kids homework topics, a random parenting magazine and “Goodnight Moon” over and over and over again.
TV, My Guilty Pleasure
When I ran into parents who read I would say to them, “who has time to read?” I had four kids under 10 who were climbing off the walls, and to my surprise I didn’t grow up to be supermom. I was new at running a house, trying to raise well-behaved children, (keyword is trying, it’s the thought that counts right?) and I even home-schooled for a year. My life was chaos for about 18 hours a day for a decade. I hung on to my sanity by indulging in guilty pleasures, made better by my new best friend, my Tivo/DVR. TV was a great escape from my busy life and offered much more excitement than laundry or diapers. There is nothing glamorous or privileged about being a housewife in my county. Even though it was what I wanted to do, it still made my dreamy imagination ache for something to keep it busy. So I watched television. I would get the fall TV Guide, plan out a schedule, look up shows online, check on old shows to see if they were in jeopardy of being canceled. At night, I would grab a snack and stuff myself full of junk television. I watched a soap opera, nearly every reality show and the juicy drama’s like Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. Sounds exhausting, right? But it filled that imaginative streak in me all through my 20’s.
The Series That Changed it All
About 3 years ago, I was invited by a close friend of mine to attend a “Twilight” DVD viewing party. I called her up and said “how old are you, 16?” Why would you be interested in a teen movie?” She said it wasn’t just for teens, it was actually a good book series. I didn’t know a thing about it as my kids were still young. I decided to attend the party on a whim to see what the hype was all about and for some girl time. I was the only one there who hadn’t read the book and one of the only women who had not seen the movie. So, along with about 8 other women aged 18 to 60+, I watched “Twilight.” I was confused by then and “underwhelmed.” Seemed like everyone knew more about the story than what showed up on the screen. I asked for the book to gain a better understanding of just what I was missing. I told my friend, I don’t know if or when I will have time to read it, but I will try.
I started reading it on a weekend. I can still remember opening the first page and settling in. The kids were playing in their rooms, nicely for once. I didn’t feel horribly guilty for taking some time out for me to read when I could have been cleaning something. Five minutes after I began, I was transported into another world and after a few chapters, I was again a bookworm.
I don’t recall how quickly I read “Twilight”, but I do know that I went berserk trying to borrow the second book, New Moon, right after I was finished. Then by the time I was through with the second book, I immediately (and trust me when I say immediately!) drove to Barnes and Noble and bought the remaining books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I read the entire 4 book saga in 12 days, plus the 5 or so chapters of Midnight Sun (Edwards point of view in “Twilight” that was stolen or leaked, and Author Stephenie Meyer ended up posting to her website).
I was a zombie. I fell asleep reading at 4 am and with the book still in my hand. I would wake up at 7 am to start reading within a minute, my eyes blurry and stinging. I would walk to the laundry room holding the book up, reading while I folded clothes. (On a side note to moms who decide to read the series; I highly recommend making meals ahead of time if you ever partake in a “Twilight” saga reading binge. Plan it during summer, spring break, when you have nowhere to go. Your family will thank you.) I read at the park, in my car while waiting in the pickup line at school. I was on fire for more of this story. I read the last book slowly. Savoring it. Stopping every so often to think about it. Because I knew it was coming to the end and I couldn’t bear to let go of the ride. (Although, I am sure my family couldn’t wait for me to finish and have mom back!).
My Reading Didn’t Stop There
After the “Twilight” Saga, all I wanted to do was read. I saved up and got a Nook E-reader right after they first came out. It was heavenly because I never had time to browse book stores, with 4 kids a bookstore trip turns into a game of hide and seek quickly, then tag, then whose children are those? The library hates me. You have to return books whether you’ve read them or not, when they want, and when I don’t they charge me a fine! They don’t care that you can’t find the book under the stacks of papers on your desk, or you think you saw it in your son’s toy box or even if you have it on the front seat of your car for 2 months and can’t seem to get the willpower or time to drive the 3 miles to the library. Therefore e-books are ideal for me. Instant books, time to browse at home, no fines, and the luxury of reading the first few pages or chapter free of any book your interested in that’s in the Nook Library.
My TV Habits Have Changed
Since I finished “Twilight”, I’ve only liked 2-3 TV shows enough to watch. It’s not enlightening television mind you, it’s still guilty pleasures, my must watch show is Vampire Diaries on the CW. The writing on this show is phenomenal. (Much like my beloved Friday Night Lights that is no longer on). Everything else bores me (morning and afternoon talk shows), irritates or disgusts me (Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of anywhere), has been done so many times already, it’s stale (every police, hospital or lawyer drama), unoriginal (silly sitcoms with laugh tracks that have a hard time finding the jokes), fake pointless reality (Survivor, The Bachelor). It’s all a hodge podge of blah. Two days ago, I started the “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. I am now on the second book, “Catching Fire.” It has swept me up, just like “Twilight.” I am once again reading every chance I get. I even grabbed my Nook out of my purse waiting in a long drive-thru at Sonic. How many times have you forgotten to breathe while watching television? I have done it a few times already in the “Hunger Games.”
I Find Time to Read
After the kids have settled down and their angelic faces are resting on their freshly clean pillowcases and they’ve all had warm baths, tucked in with their pajamas on and their bedrooms are sparkling clean…(ok..it sounds lovely but that rarely happens). When they are all asleep and the house is finally quiet, I will race to my Nook, relax, and treat myself to a good book after a hard day’s work of being a full-time mom. I would rather read than watch a movie or television because I know that I will like it, as opposed to watching a movie on pay per view where I often wonder why I just wasted 2 hours of my precious time and paid $5.99 to do so and I may have lost brain cells in the process. I know with the books I choose, it always ends up happily ever after. It allows me to find pleasure in reading again and it has stimulated my imagination once more, enough to push me and inspire me into becoming the writer I’ve never had time to be. Stephenie Meyer wrote her first book with two toddlers at her feet and she made her dream come true. She didn’t just change her life that day, she would come to change mine as well. “Twilight” gave me back my love of reading and gave me the confidence to explore my dream of being a freelance writer.
Laura Lovell has been a writer since she was 8 years old, but has just recently been able to dedicate herself to full-time freelance writing. She has published over 100 articles on Yahoo Voices. She is also a stay-at-home mother of 3 boys and 1 girl, ages 5, 8, 10 and 14. She has a variety of wide-ranging interests and it shows in her writing. In her spare time, Laura enjoys spending time with her children, her husband of 11 years and their golden retriever Daisy. She is never far from her Nook E-Reader, reads several books a week and she can’t live without the music of Rob Thomas. She has been playing fantasy football for the past 11 years, loves the NFL and is currently writing two romance novels at the same time. Check out her website www.writeatmidnight.com to peruse her plethora of articles on Family Life, Technology, Sports, Social Issues, Movie Reviews, Health Topics, A.D.H.D and Poetry. You can contact Laura at WriteatMidnight@msn.com or follow her new Facebook Page www.Facebook.com/Iwriteatmidnight.