Beginning with It: Another turn in my account of reading

Like any good creation story the origin of my life as a reader holds a certain veil of mystery.  Probe too much and things have difficulty holding together but try and deny the story and there will suddenly be a glaring void in understanding how we got here.  There was something before but . . . what?  There is something before the beginning.  There always will be.  This does not make the creation story any less of a beginning.  It is a point of orientation, a framework perhaps, something we look around at, and in retrospect, have come to inhabit (even if just for a time).

When I first considered reflecting on the books that have significantly influenced not only who I am but simply how I became a reader I thought of starting in young adulthood when I started reading seriously.  However, this idea started pulling my memories back further.  I did not push my remembering.  I did not demand that it reclaim every inch of land or reconstruct every possible scenario.  I don’t remember how I actually learned to read.  Perhaps one day I will remember, but right now I don’t.  And perhaps like too many occasions my remembering will be another forced meaning held hostage by what I want.  I don’t know that I can escape that process but I would also rather not enable it further.  Rather, my remembering came  to rest quite quickly on one particular event.  It kept coming to mind, I mean It kept coming to mind.  Stephen King’s It.  I don’t know how I heard about It and I don’t know how I got my hands on It in small rural Mennonite community in grade 6 or 7.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this series I plan on simply recollecting my experiences.  I am trusting in the simple idea that what has remained impacting now is what should first be attended to.  So what follows may be flawed with factual inaccuracies.  Hell, it might not even have been It that I read . . . but that is the association I know have.

And what can I say.  I love that my mind has now and often in the past recalled, even if briefly, the bizarre memory of this work of horror/suspense as commencing something or beginning it.  I can barely keep from referencing and playing on this most simple, foundational, and entirely ambiguous point of reference.  It is entirely contextual, entirely relational.  It is the extension of the figure in definite demarcation.  It is the useless of groping at a reference to something entirely unknown but still present.  But can my first formative reading experience have already established a definitive trajectory?  Is my trajectory able to reverse-engineer all my interests back on that book?  I don’t care.  My reading began with it and is still seeking it and all the while I am creating it.


One thought on “Beginning with It: Another turn in my account of reading

  1. For me, it was The Hobbit and then the LOTR. My dad read those books aloud to his kids before I could even read, and I first read The Hobbit for myself in Grade 2. It was a huge reason that I fell in love with reading (the other two reasons being (a) the absence of TV and video game systems in our home; and (b) Classic Comics which expanded my reading horizons a lot once I realized they were actually based on longer books).

    On a side note, The Hobbit was also the reason why I have a nightmare involving giant spiders about once a year (I still remember after the first reading of the spiders in Mirkwood — I slept in a bunk-bed and I dreamed that giant spider legs slowly crept up over the back of my bed, landed on the sides of my bed and then a giant spider slowly pulled itself up over me — aaaaaah!!!!).

    Regardless, I think I read The Hobbit and the LOTR once a year from second grade through to the end of high school.


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