Thus spaketh my beloved five-year-old granddaughter, preparing to pitch a hissy fit because I refuses to watch a vulgar and moronic video with her before bedtime, and instead had suggested I read with her.
It was late, and I was tired. (She’s a night owl, and I’m not.) Without thinking, I bent down and got right in her face. Keeping my voice low and nonthreatening, I replied, “You just said that to the wrong person, kid, because I write books.”
Her eyes darted from side-to-side. “Oh.”
Oh, indeed, Snooks.
Beloved’s mother, my own beloved daughter, loves books, but admits that her reading time has been curtailed to those few minutes before she falls asleep at night. Who can blame her? She’s the full-time mom to a rambunctious five-year-old with the sleep schedule of a vampire.
“I need to read more in front of her,” she says, and I believe she means to try. It’s a good point. Kids emulate what they see their parents do, and if Beloved sees her mother enjoying books, well, she might, too.
Beloved’s dad, on the other hand, is no fan of books. That’s not to say he doesn’t like the written word, merely that he prefers to read from a screen rather than a printed page. To each their own, so long as they’re reading, but I feel a pang under my heart for several reasons when he denigrates physical books, particularly in Beloved’s hearing.
See, a love of books is something I’d hoped to bring to this growing relationship between me and my granddaughter. Not just a love of words, which would be nice, too, of course, but also an appreciation of physical books; to enjoy their smell, their weight, and the texture of their pages. I want for her to experience the deep contentment of settling into a favorite chair or into bed with a new or much-loved book, something “snuggleable.” I want to engage her imagination. Yes, please! I dream of talking about her favorite scenes and how she sees them in her mind’s eye, how they compare with my own. I want to share favorite passages, and even argue over the merits of a story.
I send her books, but it’s hard to convey the love from several hundred miles away. And, sure, yes, she can read and imagine and share with glowing words printed on a hard screen. And yet…
Those who don’t cuddle with books can’t, or won’t, understand. I’m a dinosaur in this age of electronics, but a proud one that maintains there’s value in the page-printed word. And I’ll likely be clutching one of those most beloved books when the asteroid hits and wipes us all away again.
It’s up to us to keep that love of physical books alive! I’m a dinosaur, too, and proud of it!
And by the way, you’ve been really cooking with blog posts lately!
Thanks, Jim. I’m inspired by my friend and fellow writer, John Valeri. I’ve been so busy getting stuff done for the book launch in March, that the writing was falling by the wayside. I’m blogging to keep the cogs oiled.
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A world without (physical) books is not a world I want to know. Thank God for the ambassadors of written words. Of paper. And brick-and-mortar. I’ll bet that beloved granddaughter of yours will come around yet. I mean, you’re a Rockstar!
Thanks, John. The feeling is mutual.
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