Stepping through the doors of any library and combing the shelves for treasures qualifies as one of life’s most exciting adventures. Really.
Recently, I came across Neil Gaiman’s poignant and humorous Newbery Medal Acceptance speech for his novel, The Graveyard Book (2008). In it, he speaks of his devouring (literally) the books at his local library on all of his school vacations between the ages of eight and fourteen. He describes himself as “an awkward child, ill-fitting, uncertain,” who found a home and a marvelous escape through books.
Gaiman could have been talking about my experience, or the experiences of the myriad of his fellow writers past and present. I’ve yet to meet a writer who didn’t start out as a voracious reader and lover of books, or one who didn’t seek solace in them as a way to cope with not fitting in or belonging in some way to “the real world.”
In a sense, I think those of us who write see what we do not only as a way of nurturing ourselves but of “paying it forward.” We long to give readers the same pleasure, solace, and comfort we derived from those wonderful books we dove headfirst into as children and revel in as adults.
Books. Libraries. Readers. Writers. What amazing blessings in our lives!