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Melissa Rose
MillardtheMK
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What Do You Listen To When You Write?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kindred in Pain

I've tried twice to post this, and neither one was quite right, but you know the saying, third time's the charm.

After all the hard work on Saturday, I was seriously ready to be a slug on Sunday, all day. I had a couch to bond with, pictures to edit, movies to watch. But I also had a promise to keep to a friend who couldn't make it to the signing on Saturday. He's younger than I am, just the right age to be an adopted little brother, and he's the actual younger brother of a good friend of mine. I've conscripted him before at Wayne's signings to fetch and carry, play the part of a fan (not a stretch because he is one) and to clean up after ward. So when he called and was bitterly disappointed at missing the signing on Saturday I promised to take him to the next one on Sunday. And there went my couch potato day. I got all ready and headed out to his house (roughly a half an hour away) and picked him up along with one of his friends that wanted to come too. We had a fine time driving down, discussing RAMPAGE(TM) and which of the three monsters is the best to use when destroying the city scape as well as what we thought the next development of game console there would be and debated too which of the MYST(TM) games and which of the ZELDA(TM) games were the best. When we got to the Barnes and Noble and walked in, both holding the doors for me, we saw the authors right away.

They were set to the right of the doors as you walked in at an L shaped table and my RentedBrother saw Wayne right away and for a moment got shy and then as Wayne saw him too and called for him to come over the shyness went away. It might have been Wayne's far too cool Ranger sword that broke the ice as well, but both boys went over and said hello amid the press of the other people there and I got pictures of them with Wayne, and then stood back and let them talk to all of the authors and giddily collect bookmarks. Wayne signed one for them, as I had been expressly told that I wasn't to buy either of them a book.

One wasn't a 'reader' and the other didn't need to be spoiled. So, I let them collect signatures on the back of bookmarks and talk to Christopher Hopper and then told them that I needed to go look for Timothy Zahn's book Dragon and Judge which I did, but I also wanted to get them away from the press of the crowd for a minute and do some investigation into this 'not a reader' idea and this 'doesn't need to be spoiled' one as well. The friend of my rented little brother started to look at other 'kid' books and 'teen' as well (that's where I usually find Zahn's Dragon and " series) and started telling me about them.

I watched his face as he outlined the books, listen to him stutter slightly in excitement as he flipped the book open and pointed out that there were really cool facts in the place after the story was over and saw his excitement as he realized there was another book out in the series. He went on, touching the spines of the books he'd all ready read, and telling me how he loved going to the library and seeing if there were any new ones he'd not read yet. I could feel something knotting inside me. Not a reader? Someone had gotten their facts wrong. He went on to tell me how he'd finished Wayne's first book, checking it out from the library a couple of times to get through it.

So, he wasn't a fast reader. But the love of stories was etched in every line of his face, in the expressive way he sketched out the actions of the characters with his hands, and the sound of his words tumbling over one another, racing to get out. The feeling inside me knotted tighter, and I took a long deep breath, asking my rented little brother what was his favorite thing about The Door Within to buy some more time.

Anger was souring my tongue, anger at being told that this friend wasn't a reader, anger at the fact that here was this young fantasy fan running through books at the library, but no one had picked up on the fact that he'd like to have some of his own. Because they didn't see a reader, they saw someone struggling to read.

I knew what that was like to be mis-labeled when it came to reading.

When I was in the third grade and in public school I was placed in remedial reading. I can still remember the snickers and snide comments that my class mates made. But the real kicker came when Mom and Dad (not believing this) had me independently evaluated. Turns out that in the third grade I was reading on an eighth grade level. I did however have a learning disability but it wasn't one that was getting in the way of my understanding, it just made me read slower. While the school was highly embarrassed and immediately switched me to the advanced reading group, the damage was done and the label of 'stupid' that I was given stuck all the way till I was pulled out of public school in the sixth grade and home schooled.

If I could peel the label off someone else, or even loosen it, I had decided that I would. And here was the opportunity.

"Guys" I said, pulling them back from the The Door Within discussion they had started "How would you like to get a book signed today?"

Eyes got as wide as saucers, and my rented brother protested that he'd been warned not to let me buy him anything. And so did his friend. I promptly pointed out that coming to a book signing and not getting a book was like going to a pizza place and not getting anything to eat. In other words, cruel and unusual punishment.

Having settled that I would explain to both their parents why they came home with books, we went back to the table and they picked out the one they wanted (Christopher Hopper's Rise of the Dibor) and they got their copies signed, and took some more pictures and finally we headed back to their house.

I can't express here how sweet it was to hear them reading to each other during the trip back, fumbling through the pronunciation guide, hearing them decide to read chapter one together that night, and to hear the 'not a reader' go "Books are so much better than movies! Books are awesome because you see the story in your head!" I can't express here how the knot inside me untwisted and relaxed at those boyish, happy words. I can tell you, but the telling is a vague shadow to the real thing.

Sunday was a great gift, because with Christ's help I was able to bend the bars a little and let someone else trapped inside the wrong label, squeeze out.

7 comments:

Pais Charos said...

That's awesome! I can relate somewhat, as I almost got stuck in that label as well. My 5th grade teacher tried to tell my parents I had a learning disability and to put me in Special Ed. They would have nothing of it. They didn't homeschool me, but they worked harder with me while I did my homework, and then in 8th grade (when my schooling began to go beyond their power to help) they hired a tutor for me, and she tutored me through 8th and 9th grade. I owe my education to her and my parents.

I still read slow - bums me out, too, sometimes, but it doesn't make me enjoy it any less ^_^

And I just finished The Restorer. WOW!!!! I want the next one, NOW!

Hehe. Onto TDW! :D

everlastingscribe said...

LOL Which is why I'm not sure that I'm going to read the Lion Vrie till I have the final one in my hands. I really do think it's going to be like reading the Fellowship, and then Two Towers and have to WAIT everlastingly for Return of the King.

Pais Charos said...

Hehe, yeah. I feel that way with the Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke. The first two books are out, and I've read them both, and they're awesome. But the third one isn't due out until Fall 2008...*falls over*.

I'm loving TDW. There's a UNICORN!!

*ahem* Sorry. Got a bit excited there. I even emailed Wayne to tell him how excited I was about the unicorn, even if it wouldn't follow Aidan (I don't blame the unicorn, honestly). Most of the stories I write are about unicorns, so ... :D

Christopher Hopper said...

Scribe,

What a moving post. Seriously. I don't know what's more amazing: the fact that you had such a break through, or that they picked ROTD for their next book. I am so humbled and equally honored. And I'm so incredibly proud of you for apprehending the situation by the scuff of the neck and acting.

Score!

Oddly enough, I hated reading growing up, partly because I was a slow reader, and partly because I was a late bloomer. But I had one English teacher who forever changed my life, simply because of a single sentence. I had turned in a short story, and her comment was, "This is simply amazing."

Ever since then, I knew I could write.

From now on, those boys know they can read, and are worth being invested in.

C'symia.

CH

Christopher Hopper said...

PS - Please let me know what they think of ROTD!

everlastingscribe said...

I've talked to the both of them since then and been told that their favorite character is Luik, and they think that the 'game' that Luik plays is too cool. I've seen the books around the house and noticed that the bookmarks are a little further along today than they were yesterday (they keep them by the front door as the friend is visiting from Texas and they are back and forth to each other's houses) and they were asking me some questions about who the rider met in the beginning. I just grin and tell them to keep reading, and they are.

So far I've gotten for or five hugs each from them and they keep mentioning how much fun they had. Now I just need to get them the pictures. :) I'm the one that got blessed.

everlastingscribe said...

And thanks for being proud of me. I needed to hear that today, I needed an 'atta girl' :)

Poll Results

What Do You Notice First About A Book?
RESULTS! Closed 11/11/09

My attention's always grabbed by the cover-53%

I look on the spine for the author's name-6%

The thicker books are the one that grab my notice-26%

I open the book up to the middle and burry my nose in the pages, sniffing. Scent is important-0%

I flip the book over, ignore the cover and the spine and get to the book blurb-13%



Pick Your Weapon! RESULTS! Closed-11/03/09

Gladius-0%
Hand and Half Sword-16%
Long Bow-25%
Mace-0%
Staff-33%
Pen-25 %




What Kind of Fan Are You? RESULTS! Closed-10/22/09

Shy. I like reading books but I don't want to meet the authors-15%

Avid. I've read everything my favorite author has written!-38%

Curious. I've e-mailed my favorite author or left comments on the blog and asked them questions-38%


What Kind of Word Smith Are You? RESULTS!-Closed 10/15/09

I focus on setting-22%
I focus on dialogue-22%
I focus on action-22%
I focus on characters-33%

What Kind of Reader Are You? RESULTS!-Closed 10/07/09

I try and guess where the story is going to go-44%
I read the book and think how I would have written it differently-0%
I race through the story, riding the words like a rollarcoaster-22%
I race through the book and then go back and read my favorite parts again and again-33%

What Kind of Writer Are You? RESULTS!

Character first--1%
Plot First--4%
Balanced Between Plot and Character--5%
All Over The Place--5%

So All Over The Place and Balanced Between Plot and Character tie for the win! All I can say is that there must be some wicked stories out there. I can't wait to read them!

Scribe is Listening to:


Music:

Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian Sound Track.

Books on CD: The Moving Finger Read by Martin Jarvis. Original story by: Agatha Christie

Scribe is Reading:

I am? COOL!

I'm apparently referring to myself in the third person too. Go figure.

Books:

Nightmare's Edge by: Bryan Davis

The Invention of Hugo Cabert (Caldecott Book) by: Brian Selzinck-FINISHED. Mind blowing! Every storyteller should read this book.

FEARLESS by: Max Lucado-FINISHED. Excellent!

Bibles:
NLT Chronological 24/7 Bible paperback
NASB Online at Bible Gateway

Followers

Psalm 49

Psalm 49
A Psalm of Repentance

About Me

My photo
I tell stories all day long. Some with my pen, some with my keyboard and if you can find me, buy me a coffee and I'll tell you one too!

Scribe