Growing up, I never really had much of an interest in books. The earliest memories I have of books, like many others, were of my mother and my grandmother reading to me back when I couldn’t do so myself (honestly, I asked them to even when I could). For some reason, the desire to read on my own hadn’t intrinsically developed once I learned to read for myself. I suppose I figured school was already telling me what I had to read and when, so aside from that, why touch a book? Looking back on my memories of movie screens, VHSs, DVDs, and double-sometimes-even-triple-features, I was definitely always one for movies. (Yes, I love Harry Potter. No, I haven’t read the books. Yes, I have people breathing down my neck about this blasphemy until I do.) What didn’t really make sense was the fact that I felt so at ease amongst bookshelves in libraries and bookstores. I adored the image of bookshelves lined with the different colors and sizes of bindings of the worlds and characters they were holding together. After graduating from school, I didn’t have the excuse of “I read enough books because they tell me to.” I love to write, but I was so indifferent about reading, and there was something so internally unsettling about that.
The way I feel about reading and writing mirrors the way I do about communication. In order to be an effective verbal communicator, one must also know when and how to genuinely listen. Not just to hear, but to listen. If allowed, I’m sure I could talk all day long about myself or something I’m passionate about. I know this because some truly wonderful, open-hearted people out there have certainly let me go on for longer than I should have, and I am so appreciative of that. However, reflecting on those one-sided conversations, they were exactly that: one-sided. Incomplete. They didn’t feel like I had an actual talk with someone.
I noticed that the more I listened to others, the more I was able to articulate my own thoughts and feelings to be better understood. By listening to others, we learn how they perceive the world around them, which is often different than the way that we might. Then, we can use that to communicate our message more effectively to be perceived.
There’s a homeostatic relationship between words spoken and words heard.
Just as I believe there is between words written and words read.
I am what I like to call a “bookworm by choice”. The desire to read is there, but the effort does not at all come naturally. If I am reading, it is wholly because it is what I want or feel called to do at that moment, and because I get a sense that it may be my turn to listen. I love to write, but I don’t always want to be the one talking.
This philosophy brought into my life the beginnings of my very own bookshelf as seen in the featured photo. It does not include school books. It does not hold books assigned to me. Resting there, beside my journals, among the words I wrote, harmoniously live the words I choose and hope to read. Their words with mine, my words with theirs. The makings of a beautiful conversation.
Hey, thanks for listening.