When I was in the second grade, I was in the slow reading group. There were three of us: a non-native speaker of English (i.e. he spoke only Spanish), a girl who was retarded (this was back in the seventies when people used that term), and me. I mean I was really slow. The teacher told my mother I would probably never read on level and that I just wasn’t very bright. My mother refused to believe that. She bought text books from the school (this was long before the days of Teacher Haven and we were not well off, those books were a huge burden on the budget). She worked with my everyday after school until I was caught up. In the fifth grade we moved to a new school district and I was behind … again. By their standards, I wasn’t “reading on level” until late in my eighth grade year. My mother made a lot of mistakes raising me (don’t all parents?), but the one thing she did right was that she fought for me. She refused to believe I “wasn’t very bright.” She simply didn’t believe that I couldn’t read.
I think about that slice of my personal history a lot. It’s ironic, right? The fact that the girl in the slow reading group would grow up to be a writer? I’ve wondered if all those extra hours spent reading with my mother are what made me into a reader today.
Books have given me so much in life, it’s hard to image what my life would be without them. I met my first boyfriend at a bookstore. My best friend all through high school? I met her at that same store. My two best friends in college–no, three best friends–all people I bonded with over books. And that’s all before I decided to make writing my professions. That’s not counting the endless joy of reading, the travel to places I could never go in real life, the elation and heart break I’ve experienced. Books–reading, writing–have given me the best friends I’ve had in my life. And I count those friends I’ve made here at Jaunty Quills among those “best friends.” I have loved being a part of the Jaunty Quills. I’ve loved being a part of this amazing community.
However, it’s time for me to step aside and let new Quills come foreword to lead the way. But don’t worry. I’ll stop by from time to time and I’ll wrangle invitations to guest blog when I can. I love you guys. This has been my home on line for so long, I don’t even remember when joined. I’m tempted to tell you not to have too much fun without me … but who am I kidding? You guys always have fun!