I am intelligent, compassionate, and loyal but wasn’t the highest placed pupil. I’m not a morning person and thus not the child with trophies or a lot of gold stars! Two things that do define who I am: I regard animals as equals and excitedly collect books at the best possible bargains. I wrote a blog earlier about how my stockpile started. In my teens and twenties, my Dad’s friend – uncle to us – let us share his cottage on Lake Winnipeg. On holidays from work, I loved going by myself with my dear cat. I’d bring a box of records so I could record them onto cassettes, since my uncle’s player had a tape deck. I would walk to the small store, which had paperbacks in a carton on the floor for 25c. I read a lot at our cottage, as my kitty sun-tanned with me but had bagfuls every summer. There must be a few still to read 15 years later.
It’s hard to imagine a large part of yourself on hold but university stopped me from reading. I felt how many students feel, I think: that I ought to focus. I was too young to know a break was okay; that I could fit in books of leisure if I’d worked enough with textbooks, or was at a standstill. By the time I got out of there, I’d be surprised if I opened two leisure books a year. I had one bookmarked when I was dating a post-university boyfriend. I visited him week-ends; yes indeed, with my cat! Forking out tuition didn’t facilitate renting a home but I was a grown lady, wanting freedom from the family. There was a cosmetic research company in his neighbourhood and I gave it a try. I will never support tests on animals because it isn’t voluntary or fair. What I didn’t mind, was being paid decent bucks for product testing done *on me*!
One experiment advised bringing a book, because you sat with arms still in a hot room for about two hours. It was an anti-perspirant study. My half-read paperback was at home, so this boyfriend lent one. Among two rows, he said “The Belgariad” by David Eddings was excellent. Fantasy, except in films, had never interested me. There is a lot of fluff but I got a convincing endorsement about volume one and needed something. I don’t recall how many chapters it took but was surprised I liked it very much. I learned “The Belgariad” was a series and made haste to borrow the sequels he had and purchased the remainder.
The spell was broken on my drought of pleasure books! I surely finished what was bookmarked at home and felt jubilation inside my very core. An activity intimately belonging to me since childhood was back. Reprising my habit recharged me! I read John Tolkien and started with Madeleine L’Engle. I look forward to Canadians Jodi McIsaac and Guy Gavriel Kay this year. Also the anti-perspirant study gave me a gold star moment not experienced in school or university. Apparently they identified participants from sweatiest to mildest for their purposes. Laugh if you like but this once-overlooked child was proud to surpass everyone…. and be proclaimed participant belonging in the first chair!
* Enjoy the paranormal or fantasy? Sign-up for year two of my challenge, “Ethereal“!