Hoping all the mothers out there are having a wonderful day! I spent the morning fingerpainting with my little grandsons. This afternoon, if everything goes as planned, I get to spend the afternoon writing and editing. That could always change, of course, but so far, so good. The perfect day, as far as I’m concerned.
I was thinking this morning of all my mother has done for me during my life. A very significant thing, at least in my view, is that she encouraged me to read and learn, from as early as I can remember. I didn’t go to preschool/headstart or kindergarten. Instead, my mom taught me. I could spell and write simple words around 3 1/2, and by the time I started first grade, I could do quite a lot.
All through school, she and my dad insisted on good grades, simply because I was capable of it. Mom instilled a love of reading in me, even though she didn’t read a great deal herself. Library day was my favorite day of school.
The fact that I’m a writer now goes back to my mom in part, I think. When I was really little, she would give me a pencil and the tablet she used for letter writing, etc., for the farm. I filled line after line, page after page, with my version of cursive writing. She patiently taught me to write each and every letter as I asked for them.
I used to dictate stories for her to write down, then I would illustrate them. Later, she showed me how to fold paper in half and staple it together to make a ‘book’. I wrote my stories myself by then. She always listened patiently as I read them to her.
My school library had a one-book-a-week policy. By the time I was 9, I had read all the “good” books – the rest were “childish” or about sports, neither of which appealed to me. Mom started taking me to the public library then, and opened a whole new world to me. In eighth grade, I checked out on average a dozen books a week, and read every one of them. Our library still has many books with my name on the check out card – nothing was too obscure for me to read.
Mom made sure I had time to read, and it came first, after homework and taking care of my horse. I didn’t have household chores except for keeping my room clean. During summer, I would check out 2-3 dozen books a week. The only exception was during the weeks that tobacco needed “hands on” care, like setting and topping. Then I helped my uncle and earned money for school clothes, at 10c/hr.
My reading material was never censored, never limited. No subject was off limits. (With the exception of pornography, of course, but that wasn’t accessible in our town anyway.) As a result, my tastes in subject matter were broad – horses to world religion to witchcraft to abnormal psychology to… you name it. Today, there are very few things I won’t read – memoirs, sports, and anything related to celebrities.
While I was doing all that reading, I was also writing. My mom still patiently read my stories and listened to the details. Lest you get the wrong idea, my dad was also very supportive of my reading and writing. He bought me the electric typewriter my first novel was written on.
Today, my mom still supports my writing efforts. She doesn’t read them any longer, because what I write now isn’t to her taste. And, to be honest, since I write erotic romance, I really don’t want her to read my work ;-D When I started writing seriously again, she asked what I was writing about. I told her romances between vampires and people who could turn into dragons. She sort of grimaced and said, “Why don’t you write something nice?”
The point of all this is to say, “Thanks, Mom! Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am now.”