"You name it, I read it."
For authors who are compulsive readers, writing gets in the way of our addiction. We are the ones who hold the cereal box in front of us while we chow down on Cheerios or Corn Flakes as we read the ingredients, the nutritional content, and whatever tidbits of information might make their way to the other narrow side of the box.
I remember reading my way through the encyclopedia—the ones titled A–Z, with a gold letter on the spine for each book—Popular Mechanics, Outdoor Fishing, Seventeen, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. You name it, I read it.
I remember terrorizing my second-grade classmates with vivid, verbal replays of Alice in Wonderland. Who remembers what my version of the story was? But the other second graders were horrified by the rendition I told them. Growing up in rural, northern Minnesota, books were my window to the world, and I constantly traveled out into the universe on a magic carpet of words.
I cannot recall the author or the book, but I remember a scene in a story where the author described the sunlight on a warm summer day, filtering down through the green-leaved trees into a meadow in the middle of a forest. The beauty of the place and the peace I felt reading that passage can be recalled to this day.
In fourth grade, while I read at an adult level, it was discovered I knew nothing of math when the teacher busted me with a library book hidden behind the math book I was supposed to be working from. I had been lost in the world somewhere off in Egypt while the rest of the class was multiplying fives. High school and college studies fit my compulsive need to read.
Reality hit when I became a mother. I was heartbroken that I could no longer sit and read a book nonstop to the end. The child needed attention, food, a bath. I took to short stories that could be read from beginning to end in between parental duties. As the child grew older, I enjoyed reading my coveted crime and horror novels at bedtime, reading until three or four a.m. Books continued to not just bring the world to me, but to transport me out into the world.
The first time I drove through Maine, I had a sense of déjà vu, having visited the state in every Stephen King novel.
Needless to say, other people binge-watch internet-streamed movies and TV shows. I read.
Marcie R. Rendon is an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, author, playwright, poet, and freelance writer. Also a community arts activist, Rendon supports other native artists/writers/creators to pursue their art, and is a speaker for colleges and community groups on Native issues, leadership, writing. She is an award-winning author of a fresh new murder mystery series, and also has an extensive body of fiction and nonfiction works.