Friday, 18 October 2013

Life from a Window Ledge

My earliest recollection of solitary reading is of sitting across a window ledge in front of a plain frosted window in a pantry. I couldn't see out but if you looked in, you would see a young child's outline with her book balanced on her knees. It was 'Mrs Pepperpot' and I couldn't get enough of her tales.

My next, is of trying desperately to read Henry Treece's Viking Sagas through over-tired eyes while tucked up in bed. When I had to finally put the books away I could still see their stories enacted on my bedroom ceiling.

Much later, it was 'Far from the Madding Crowd' hastily picked up at a train station kiosk because I couldn't face hours of staring out of a train window. I hadn't read for years because I told myself I simply didn't have the time.

Since then, there's lying on a Balearic beach; my copy of Van Der Post's books still have sun oil patches. Pondering Pirsig's deep meaning while lazing on a garden swing bench. So many places, so many books but each with a time and place in my heart. It's much the same when writing except I recall snacks that kept me going, my food for thought: moist carrot cake in a Hebden Bridge cafe, hot spicy Caribbean toasties bought from a vendor and eaten on a park bench, tall cool glasses of rum and coke sipped through a twisty straw while sat in a cozy pub corner. 

Reading is a holistic experience affected by weather, mood, lateness of hour and perception of time. It's a luxury anyone can afford when all that is required is to spend time but it is a solitary experience. The imagination is given room to fly with or without extra food for thought. Each page I now read is a single step in a journey of discovery and even though I am still creating new memories of times and places, none are so comforting and safe as that pantry window ledge surrounded by aromas of strawberries and spice. 

To touch a reader with perfectly phrased words, even if only for a few seconds, was instilled in me from that first childish Mrs Pepperpot book. To master the art of allowing words to dance across a page unhindered, take a bow once done but know that a spotlight maynot come until much later. The joy of being able to pen words to make another human think, laugh, weep or just call to mind a memory once lost to them, is the greatest honour. So, the next time you read something that stirs you, write a review and allow your own experience to be heard, otherwise the writer may never realise what they achieved.
Reading is a holistic experience