Books have been like a security blanket for me as long as I can remember. My fondest memories are of visiting my grandparents in Louisiana during the summer. I would take what I’m sure wasn’t my grandmother’s first choice for my picnic blanket and drag it onto the front yard and get lost for HOURS in a book.
My grandmother would invite the neighborhood/church kids over to play with me and provide me with “company”. I mean, I would try, but the visits would almost always end in the “company” saying they were ready to go home because I wouldn’t play with them. It wasn’t because I was mean, it was because I was crazily shy and was self-conscious of my eyes. I had surgery for a “lazy” left eye when I was 7 years old. All that aside, I believe that being able to hide behind a book, coupled with my ability to get lost in a book, topped off with my shyness, was the perfect storm that fueled my love for reading.
My kids often tell me that I’m a “ book hoarder” and I immediately get defensive because I equate hoarding to a negative term. My books are a security blanket, a safe haven….my peace. Sometimes I sit at the dining room table and just look across all of the bookshelves. I marvel at the knowledge that sits on the shelves. I mean these are “book babies” for some dreamer somewhere and that makes me happy.
From time to time, I’ve thought about who I would be if I hadn’t been an avid reader. Would I have pursued knowledge and have a love for research had it not been for books?
I will admit during this time at home I haven’t been reading as much…my mind can’t focus longer than an hour or two, whereas before I could read a book cover to cover in one sitting. There is psychology behind why we aren’t able to focus or be productive during the pandemic and I won’t bore you with the science behind all of it, but I miss holding a book in my hand. Holding the corner of the page in my fingers to ensure a smooth transition from page to page. I miss telling others about my latest read and that they need to pick it up ASAPtually and making them promise we will discuss as soon as they are finished. Those times are on the horizon though…because I need to get back to something…anything that feels normal.
I’m currently waiting on my newest addition, “The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir” by Andre Leon Talley. I haven’t been excited about an autobiography since….well…Robyn Crawford’s book about her relationship/time with Whitney Houston. The “Chiffon Trenches” is about his time at Vogue and under the leadership of Anne Wintour. I can only imagine it’s like “The Devil Wears Prada” on steroids and I’m here for it. Not just for the “mess” but because Andre was a BLACK MAN in the “trenches” (pun intended) of fashion and he deserves ALL of his things.
I vow that, knowing the way my mind is spinning these days, I will take it easy on myself. I’ll try reading for an hour and if I’m still able to not read the same sentence over and over, I will continue reading….until, I’m able to hold the finished book up to my chest and give it a hug…like an old friend.
Stay safe in these pandemic streets.