I mentioned that when I first left my former spouse I had a hard time reading popular fiction. Well, I’m baaaack! What a relief to be able to pick up a book I have been wanting to read, and to be able to actually get beyond the third page and end up reading the entire book! Early on, I just couldn’t concentrate.
Reading has been the one source of sanity and escape in my crazy life. I have been known to cook an entire meal with a novel in my hand. My one desire when I was growing up was to be able to read until I wanted to stop, not because my mother called me to do a chore. I named my pets after book characters: Flip, the dog in my First Little Red Reader; Tigger, from Winnie-the-Pooh; Professor McGonagal from Harry Potter. I even named my baby sister after a character in a book I was reading the summer she was born.
Reading self-help was important and necessary. There are a lot of really good books out there, like Falling Awake. But nothing quite fills the reading void like a good Nora Ephron book. When she wrote about feeling bad about her neck, I could empathize and not feel bad about my being temporarily homeless. The Mennonite in a Little Black Dress had just as tragic an end to her long time marriage as I did, and she made me laugh through her list and recipes of childhood “foods of shame.”
I can even read the heavier stuff like the book I am reading now about a very poor family in Appalachia in the late 1800’s, a Lee Smith novel called Fair and Tender Ladies. The family is suffering, and I never have suffered like they do. But the main character, Ivy Rowe, loves words and loves to write, and the entire story is told through her letters. Writing is getting Ivy Rowe through life. Writing is getting me through, too.