Saturday, February 6, 2010

Guest Blog Post-Jacqueline Luckett

Jacqueline Luckett, author of "Searching For Tina Turner," has graciously written a guest blog about her reading and writing life. Enjoy!

I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember. I can't imagine being without books; there’s always a book in my purse, my car and on my nightstand. I read while walking, in the grocery line, at a red light, in traffic and any other place I can catch a free minute. Like a snoopy neighbor or a peeking Tom, I read to catch a glimpse of someone else’s world, someone else’s problems. I read for the magic of words and for long, winding sentences filled with as much rhythm as a song. I can get stuck on sentences, reading them over and over for the feel of them, for their cadence and drama.

As a child I loved the library. To my child’s eye, the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library was huge, its glass doors massive. I have no recollection of how I got to the library, whether I walked or rode my bike or was dropped off by my parents. I do remember the countless times standing at the foot of the steps that led to the children’s room and the mounting excitement as I climbed to the second floor. The smell of aged books, a bit of must and mold, and perfumed librarians. The thrill of reaching the top of those stairs and seeing shelf after shelf filled with books, running my fingers over the titles, stacking books in my arms. I get the same feeling now when I step into a library or a bookstore. So many books, so little time.

And after reading all those books, I wrote a few stories of my own. My parents brought home supplies from their jobs: ball point pens, tablets, and connected sheets of perforated paper lined with sprocket holes, the kind that fed into teletype machines. It dawns on me now that that was their way of encouraging me. Sitting at our dining room table with pad and paper, pen poised high, I wrote— poems and stories, letters, lists, my name backwards and forwards, with left hand or right.

Reading holds not only pleasure, but teaches excellent lessons on craft. Writing has expanded my love of reading that started a long time ago. I didn't write for years, but I never stopped reading. Now, once again reading and writing have convened at a marvelous junction, and I couldn’t be happier.

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