Friday, June 11, 2010

The Biblio Files, Part Five: Ex Libris Terri Locker and Katherine Grubb and a Million Thanks ...

It's been a great week here at the Den. You may not know this, but this month marks the 1st anniversary of The Writer's Den, and I wanted to celebrate this occasion by asking a few good friends to drop by and say hello, and maybe write a few posts! I'd like to thank all our contributors for taking the time to write down their thoughts and sharing them with us. I know it's not easy to write a blog post on the spur of the moment, but they did it, and they all outdid themselves! I suppose when it comes to the subject of books you can never shut a writer up, no matter how hectic life gets.

I'd like to thank ...

Donna Carrick, AKA @Donna_Carrick on Twitter, for taknig the time out of her busy schedule to write her great post "Why Do I Love (Reading and Writing) Books?" She's made a loyal friend out of me for her effort ...

ggSpirit and Valerie Brooks, AKA @ggSpirit and @VariantVal of Twitter fame, for composing some very spirited and wonderful posts, "Where the Wild Things Are", and "Confessions of a Brazen Book Whore" ... and I am ever grateful that I can call on them anytime and they'll be there for me. I hope the feeling is mutual!

Layna Pimentel, AKA @LaynaPimentel on Twitter, is not only a sweet person, but a very industrious writer. She's always writing, and I am happy that she took time out to write her post "The Fight for Literacy."

Joseph Lane, Also Known As @JosephLane when prowling the feeds on Twitter ~ I knew his sardonic wit would be a great counterpoint to my post "A Boy and his Book", because I remain a sentimentalist, and he remains in the abstract, as he likes to say. At any rate, he came through for me with a great post called "Isaac Asimov and Beyond" which I have re-read a couple of times already.

Terri Locker and Katharine Grubb, AKA @ShadyMutton and @10MinuteWriter on Twitter, are two very fine writers, and their posts are coming up next, right after I finish babbling!

Thanks again everyone for dropping by and enjoying the Biblio Files at the Writer's Den. Please Come again soon ...

It's a Love Affair
by Terri Locker

Books and I met at a young age. I'm sure I had cute little fabric books as a baby, but it wasn't until a routine trip to the grocery that I found books for myself. The highlight of this trip to the grocery, (and every trip there after), was the 'Golden Books' display by the registers. The deal was, if I'd been helpful and behaved during the trip, I might just earn a book of my very own! Nice bribery Mom!

When I was older, my mother became a member of the Disney Club. Every week the local grocery would offer a new Disney Hardcover Book with classic Disney stories inside. Yes, we accumulated the entire set, and I read every single one of them gleefully.

I had also started to read something else. Yes, Magazines and I had a trist. We had a bi-yearly date at the dentist office where I'd get together with a whole new stack of 'Highlights' and 'Turtle Magazines. I loved the stories with little pictures inserted for words. and was inspired by the poems from other kids like me so much that I submitted a poem of my own. I was so excited when I was published in an issue of 'Turtle' magazine! Unfortunately, the copy I had of that issue is now long gone, but far from forgotten. Magazines and I still get together and spend a little time catching up every once in a while.

Somewhere during this time, my relationship with Books became more serious. We regularly began meeting at the library for Saturday story time and summer reading programs. I'll admit signing my name to my own Library Card was my first experience of responsibility to the outside world. Now we had a serious commitment. It got to the point where I was choosing Books over television. I know, but we had a real love, and it was still growing.

Books have introduced me to some very good lifelong friends. Disney, who told me great stories; Dr. Seuss, who allowed silliness and fun into reading; Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys, who let me practice my own deductive reasoning and witness empowerment of young people; Edgar Rice Burroughs, who drew fabulous and intricate worlds that my imagination could actually see using only his words; Edgar Allen Poe, who showed the true artisan ability of the written word; Erica Jong, who introduced sensuality to a teenage girls life; Ayn Rand, who asked me to look inside myself and think on levels I didn't know I had.. and there is so much more for our future. Books and I will always share something special. They are my source for escape, humor, enlightenment, discovery, commiseration, relaxation, entertainment, joy, information, inspiration, imagery, and perspective. My relationship with books is stimulating, comforting, and sometimes surprising and they will always be a welcome friend.

Books, I love you.

~Gimme a Hug~

~For the Black Sheep in all of us~

Louisa, Laura and Me
by Katharine Grubb

"...They had a destiny to write, they must have known they would be famous. I thought, through that biography, Louisa May Alcott was calling me to write too ..."

I grew up in the middle of the Bible Belt. This meant that I went to church with my family twice on Sunday and on Wednesday night. My church had a “library” in the lobby that housed a small collection of books. I always assumed the books were for children to pick up and thumb through during the services, so that’s what I did.

On the chapter book shelf, in a faded cloth cover, was a biography: Louisa May Alcott. I didn’t know that the book was part of a series -- Childhood of Famous Americans. All I knew was that the cover showed a girl in an old-fashioned dress sitting at a desk, writing. What was not to love? This was the ’70’s. I was already immersed with Little House On The Prairie on television and collected Holly Hobbie dolls. Louisa May Alcott probably owned a bonnet, so she was already a friend.

I read this book all through the church service. I was fascinated by her life, which was vastly different from mine. She had sisters. I had a brother. She lived in an exotic location -- Massachusetts. I lived in Oklahoma. She wrote stories, grew up, wrote more stories and became famous. I went to church and daydreamed about writing. I put Alcott with Laura Ingalls Wilder -- real people who wrote about their lives and were published. They had a destiny to write, they must have known they would be famous. I thought, through that biography, Louisa May Alcott was calling me to write too.

I read this book repeatedly during church. I regret that I never had my own copy of it. Sadly, the updated versions of the books have a garish red, white and blue cover, not the faded orange cloth I treasured. (Ebay, you and I need to talk.)

As I grew up, I read all the Little House books, Little Women, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and all those pre-teen angst type books that were threadbare in my school library. I also collected Peanuts comics, wept through The Diary of Anne Frank, and read through my fourth grade teacher’s set of World Book Encyclopedia for fun.

I knew I would write someday. Eventually, I wrote for my high school newspaper and yearbook. I went to college on writing scholarship. I left journalism school disappointed that they didn’t coddle me in the same way my small town teachers did. After years of detours and unusual writing assignments, I find myself now, in Boston, Massachusetts, blogging, raising my family and writing my first novel.

Someday I’ll hold my own book in my hands, just I did Alcott’s biography. Maybe I’ll do something sappy, like take a copy to her grave in Concord, MA or dedicate it to “L.A.M.” Or maybe I’ll put in the hands my kids or their friends and say, enjoy. Follow your dreams. Write and be happy.

But please, try to pay attention in church.

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