In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Morton’s Fork.”
Give me a minute while I show my southern roots.
“Ain’t no way you gone make me choose between the two”!
Ok. Rant over.
Today’s Daily Prompt is a perplexing one for me. I have memories of being a kid looking forward to Wednesday when my daddy would be off work and accompanied by my mother we’d have a family trip to the library. In my family reading was an everyday adventure and/or learning opportunity. I married a man who feels the same way and we have passed this love of reading onto our kids, who love pulling a book off of their bookshelf and settling in somewhere.
If I wasn’t a reader I wouldn’t be able to play piano, cook as well as I do, craft some awesome projects, fix things around the house, the list goes on and on. Yes folks reading is educational.
Now for the flip side. Writing.
My mother has many stories she’s started to tell on paper and for whatever reason never pushed to complete. My father was a poet. Both of my parents always encouraged me to push the envelope with my writing. Growing up, I always felt that if I couldn’t verbally find the right words to say I could write it down and form a statement that was a lot more coherent. To this day at the age of 32 I still feel this way. Sometimes it is just easier to write down the flow of information that likes to jumble itself up in my head like a box of puzzle pieces.
Seriously, writing and reading are one and the same to me.
In my opinion reading and writing go hand in hand. Readers are taken on adventures to places they may never physically see and can learn about anything through informational text. Readers also tend to get the writing bug. If you love reading chances are you want to at least try being the one doing the writing. Like acting, being an author isn’t for everybody, but blogging is our little community theater.
For a long time my mother had old letters from when she was in high school. Notes from boyfriends, encouraging letters to keep those grades up, etc. These letters always gave me a picture of what it was like to be my mom growing up. It’s amazing how the basic character traits and interests of teenagers really has changed, technology is providing them with more platforms to socialize outside of or during school. I remember at one point my mom wanted to write her own memoir. I wish she would pick up and try again because I loved what she completed. What she began writing was captivating. She grew up in a small middle Georgia town during the 60’s and 70’s, yet has stories of picking tobacco to earn money for back to school purchases, my grandmother working for a white family, and my grandfather working as a farmer. My mother is in her early fifties but has memories of being raised in a sharecropping family. That’s some interesting stuff.
In closing I’d like to share another piece of my relationship with father. As I mentioned earlier he was a poet. He attended Auburn University and while he was there, he was a dj for the school radio station. During his alloted air time he would perform spoken word poetry. After I turned about 9 years old we started listening to the reels together. Those reels stayed with our family until I was in my early twenties. A few months before Chipmunk was born my parents moved from Alabama back to Georgia, sadly the reels got left behind in a storage unit.
After my father passed away in 2013 my mother and I were doing some house cleaning when she came across some poetry he had written for her. My father was good guy who deeply loved his family but he was also troubled by some events from his teenage years, add in the untimely death of his best friend when he was in his mid thirties and you have a recipe for a very sad man. In his poetry my father apologized to my mother for the painful things he had put her through early in their relationship up until I was about 9 years old. The words he left on those pages informed me of why he always made a big deal of giving my mother what she asked for and worked so hard to keep her around.
During the massive cleaning of my parents’ house after my dad died we also found a journal my mother kept in 1999. The journal was a medical diary that chronicled events that led to my father having emergency surgery and a 3 month hospital stay. That was the beginning of the end of my dad being the man I grew up with. The 1999 diagnosis of being septic from a perforated ulcer and pancreatitis was an early sign of the later diagnosed liver cirrhosis. After that my father’s second home was the hospital and at one point he started blogging about what it was like to be a “career patient”. I loved his blog because it was written using a humorous often cynical point of view. Anyone who has to routinely deal with being a patient could identify with the ups and downs it brings. For awhile, after my father’s death, I would visit the blog once a week just so I could hear his voice read his words. Some days I still wish I could visit the website, but it is down now. Remember, my father was a troubled man. He was also an alcoholic that started out as a social drinker which slowly developed into a serious problem that we couldn’t save him from.
Reading my parents’ writing of several events in our lives has given me a new perspective on what it was like for them during those trying times. For me as a parent it is a reminder that we are not perfect, like our kids we are still learning. All of this reading family history, will hopefully lead me to writing my own history that doesn’t include the same mistakes.
Reading and writing can also be great therapy. Escaping into a life that is not your own can be relaxing ot the mind and give you a much needed reprieve. Reading to learn a new skill can be just as rewarding.
See I told you I can’t pick just one. To me, reading and writing are both equally important.