Martha Carr’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail her at Martha@caglecartoons.com.
There’s a reason I keep writing, even though monetary success hasn’t found me, yet. Words strung together in books have always given me the ability to dream of bigger things and even the courage to go out and try.
I’ve been blessed to have three books published, and each time, there have been plenty of readers who have said that I helped them let go of what no longer worked for them, and dream, too.
We talk a lot about our purpose for being here in this life, and I’ve come to believe mine is to be of service in whatever ways I can figure out. So far, translating the common man’s dream into something worthwhile, something doable and something that’s even full of a little God-magic has been mine. Not the big, change a country, build a corporation dreams. The smaller moments that stay in your heart.
It’s a message that I took in from the very start.
My first experiences with books and stories are three of the strongest memories I have as a child. The very first one was the first time I walked into a library, the Philadelphia library, and found out they let you check out as many as you could carry, my father’s rule, read them all and bring them back for more.
My world opened up that day, and I found out there were a thousand possibilities when it came to living a life.
The second has to be explained a little bit. We were so poor when I was growing up that my father talked a friend of his, who worked at a local bank, to lend him a hundred dollars so he could buy us a used, black-and-white television. We screamed with delight when Dad brought the set home.
So, when a Reading is Fundamental bookmobile came through our neighborhood and the driver told us we could pick out any new book and keep it, I felt like a little bit of magic had settled over us that day.
I took my time and tried to choose a book that I could read over and over again. I still have it, and read it to my son when he was little.
The third memory is my brother, Jeff, and myself when we taught ourselves to read, “Horton Hears a Who,” by Dr. Seuss. We had the book read to us so many times, we knew what part of the story went with what pictures, and on our own, figured out which words went with the sounds.
That’s when I understood a secret about books. They have their own power to transform. They don’t know if you’re rich or poor, beautiful, or an ugly duckling, a wealthy doctor, or a poor cabdriver, and they don’t care.
A book will take you on an adventure whenever you’re ready, regardless of how you see yourself, and as a bonus, may even change the definitions.
Books made it possible for me to envision a way to become someone I couldn’t even define yet. They gave me the faith to set out when I couldn’t find it anywhere else and the hope that somehow things would all work out.
I’ve seen it happen just often enough. A lost human being feels like they’re the only one who has ever felt this much pain. They don’t know how to reach out for help, but then, inside of a story some writer concocted out of whole cloth, they see every emotion or secret or hope-for happy ending that they’ve kept bottled up inside, acted out, and they start to believe — maybe there’s more to this world.
That’s why I keep writing, and that’s why I’m so grateful for every writer out there who struggles to tell a good tale.
I’m one of your biggest fans, whoever you are, so keep writing. We need every single exciting, cliffhanger, romance, potboiler, science fiction, political thriller that we can get our hands on, because even now, sometimes, my dreams need a kick start.
So please, just keep writing.
Tweet me @MarthaRandolph on your favorite books. www.MarthaCarr.com.
Martha’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail Martha at Martha@caglecartoons.com.