‘i’m not deaf, i’m just ignoring you’
‘I’m not deaf. I’m just ignoring you’. That was what my bookmark had written on it it bold black letters. I’d hold it up whenever someone yelled my name for the third or fourth time when I ‘had my nose in a book’. I remember it was yellow and had Garfield on it and stopped getting laughs early on in it’s career.
I was reminded of it today as I was working through the guilty pleasure of this fortnight. I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I’ve been reading. I guess it’s this time of year. I get spoiled with books and there’s no more delightful place to be than behind a big pile of them, ready to read. I was the child that ripped open those obviously shaped squares at Christmas time in ecstasy.
This year I asked my sister when we were doing the Christmas Wish Tree presents if she’d like the teenage vampire novel I’d wrapped if she was fifteen.
She wrinkled her nose, ‘Nah, I’d probably want make-up’.
I was glad I’d put the receipt in the cover, but I also hoped that the girl didn’t need it. Maybe she also stacked the books she received in one pile and got something that resembled an ice-cream headache in anticipation of which one to start first.
Maybe she was also asked daily, ‘Why don’t you go and play outside for a while?’
I’d look up with a crick in my neck and be amazed that I was still in the lounge room. That I wasn’t still in Wonderland with Alice, New York with Holden or the Prom with Carrie. So many places where I could go. Why on earth would I want to go outside?
When I’m curled up with a book and can just keep going, sometimes I look up half expecting someone to tell me to stop being so lazy. But laziness had nothing to do with me reading at the dinner table while food dropped from the fork halfway to my mouth. Reading on the toilet while my sisters hammered on the door. Reading on the grass outside, getting itchy imprints pressed into my belly and forearms. Reading with my legs thrown over the edge of the pool, placing the book carefully under my towel when I eventually got in. Riding my bike as far as I could go, letting it fall down in some strange park and taking out my crumpled book from my back pocket. Hiding uncool novels in my school bag only getting caught and taunted for the embarrassing covers. But I couldn’t leave them at home. All I wanted to do was read.
It was the thing that made me pick up the pen in the first place. I’d finish a book and kiss the spine with such awe. I wondered if I could do that? I didn’t get nagged or teased as much about my love affair with reading when I started writing stories. And so I never stopped.
The main difference now, is when I’m feeling guilty about my little read-a-thons is now I can call it research.
Happy guilt free 2010 my fellow word nerd and bookworms.
Best ten of 2009 (not released necessarily, just read by me.)
what we talk about when we talk about love – Raymond Carver
The Boat – Nam Le
Things We Didn’t See Coming – Steven Amsterdam
Look Me In the Eye – John Elder Robinson
Collected Stories and Poems – Allan Ginsberg
The Outsider – Albert Camus
The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
Junky – William S Burroughs
Wonder Boys – Michael Chabon
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Ten that made the teen yt stay inside fifteen years ago
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Carrie – Stephen King
Catcher in the Rye – J.D Salinger
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Something Wicked This way Comes – Ray Bradbury
Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice
Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe.
1984- George Orwell
Jennie – Paul Gallico
American Gothic Tales – Ed. Joyce Carol Oates.