Hi. My name is Dawne and I’m addicted to reading.
It started at an early age—I was in first grade when I learned the habit-forming skill. By second grade I was hard core, blowing through Little House on the Prairie books like wind in the willows. The addiction escalated in fourth grade. On our class’s weekly visit to the library, I’d check out six or seven books and read them in two days by pulling classic all-nighters.
My mom joined a book of the month club when I was in junior high, and I got hooked on the hard stuff: Victoria Holt romances, psychological tales like Sybil (that was a rollercoaster ride), thrillers by Sidney Sheldon, and historical fiction by Marilyn Harris.
I was such a read-head, that I decided I’d read the classics on my own—Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy— because that’s what smart people did. I doggedly read every page, even though I understood zip, zilch, nada.
At nineteen, I got my dream job at Waldenbooks. It was a great way to support my addiction. Employees got a whopping thirty percent discount. The $70 leather-bound Lord of the Rings was a steal at $50. Not only did we get this great discount, we could check out books ala the library and return them at our leisure.
When I had kids, my addiction to soap operas won out over my addiction to reading. For a young mother brain-dead from lack of sleep watching a soap opera took much less effort than reading.
But I got my fix one wintry weekend. My husband was traveling and the kids were at their grandparents so I could paint their bedroom. I craved something to read on breaks from painting, so I scoured the house for something I hadn’t already read. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter wasn’t appealing but there wasn’t anything else. I pulled a classic all-nighter. Literally. I dragged myself from bed the next day, ashamed but gratified. But I did finish painting the room. After that I read rarely; I distinctly remember stirring sloppy-joes with a book in hand. But that didn’t happen often. Motherhood put me on the wagon.
Writing knocked me off.
Writing Rule #1:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
- Stephen King
It began innocently enough. A book here or there. A few late nights. A summer reading list.
And then for Mother’s Day a NOOK—the great enabler. New books available 24/7.
Life is good.