(Below is a video for a song I wrote for her. It's a demo, maybe I'll play it for you one day)
My mother is a passionate storyteller and creative force. She loved reading to her class, offering specific and memorable voices to the different characters in each story. When she would read, kids would listen. I would listen. She always held literacy and books at a very high level. She read to me as long as I can remember.
When I was becoming an independent reader, I lost interest in books for awhile. Maybe it was the isolation of reading alone and not being read to. She tried to spark my interest, but for the better part of the year I was no longer interested. Later that year, a friend introduced me to Roald Dahl’s, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was quirky and strange, and it made me laugh. That did the trick.
In the 5th grade we moved out to the country. She gave me a book called Harris and Me, about a nameless young boy who is forced to move out to his uncle and aunt’s farm by social services. The character named Harris, who was a rambunctious farm boy with the best intentions, made us both laugh-out-loud and helped me get used to the transition of country living.
My mother never said no to any book I wanted to read. She let me order To Kill A Mockingbird in Grade 6 and Of Mice And Men. Those books were demanding at the time but they still ring heavy in mind.
Every year for Christmas she gives me a book. She gave me White Fang a few years ago, The Hobbit way before it was cool, and gave me a Leonard Cohen memoir this year. I went to Belize in January and was reading about Leonard at his favorite place on Earth, which is in Greece. The author was describing Leonard’s interpretation of the Greek coastline and the sea and the land. As I was reading this, I was on a boat to an island and felt like I was there. That made me think a great deal about art, love and death.
My mother has always inspired and encouraged me to read. It was these early stories of adventure that inspired and formed who I am today. Most of you that know me, know that I am a storyteller. I get this from my mother.
My Mother Read To Me
I was sailing the Mississippi in,
a raft built by Huckleberry Finn
I don’t care where we’re going, as long as it’s with him
Painting fences, mischief always ensues
with Tom Sawyer the adventure is laid out in clues
he always felt like a friend, I’ll never lose
A story is a whole wide world
every page is a city
I’ll never walk those streets alone
cause my mother, she read to me
I still have the sense of wonder in me
spin the globe, point and follow the lead
sleeping under stars is still important to me
We were never promised eternity
or a golden ticket to a chocolate factory
you never know when your story begins or it ends
We found a bridge to Terebithia
imagination can take you anywhere
and life is fleeting so appreciate it when you can