After dedicating my latest Top Ten Tuesday to a few of my favourite quotes from books, I’ve decided to write a post on where this ‘obsession’ with bookish quotes come from. Now this is not a an easy (although quite laughable) subject to write about. I need to go dig and delve there where I can’t even remember (but will never forget).
I could read long before I could write (I presume that’s the case with most of you). Mainly because I really, really hated putting pen to paper – literally.
Oh I could write in my head ever since I’ve read “Aspoestertjie” (the Afrikaans translation of Cinderella) for the first time. I knew from a very young age that I too can arrange letters into words that turn into keys that can open the most magical things on earth – books.
The problem was not the arrangement of the letters as much as the formation of those 26 doodly, scrappy, thingies. Seeing that this was BC and we only got one of these
long after I was required by The Department of Basic Education be able to make those doodly thingies in avoidance of being sent to “Nuwe Hoop School”, a plan had to be made.
See, I had a few problems growing up. No no, I had lovely parents and a horrible sister – normal family life. But I was an epileptic and left-handed. The latter, far the worst of my problems. Due to the epilepsy, the keys to form the letters in my mind and get the message through to that cursed left-hand to put them down on paper, were a bit screwed up. This was long before Harry Potter as well, otherwise the flying keys scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone might have brought some comfort.
Although this was BC and BHP (not the mining company), the time for fairy godmothers is always the present. My fairy godmother turned out to be my own mother. Although at the time, she might have appeared more like Cruella de Vil to me. She made me practice those silly doodles over and over and over. Again. Until I finally got it right. And then I had to do it again. Just for good measure.
All the keys finally opened all the right doors leading straight to the dreaded left hand. Still, getting the hand of it (pun intended) and actual enjoyment of the accomplished task at hand (no pun intended), are worlds apart. What’s the fun in copying stupid little sentences like “Baas en Mossie sit.” And it had to look just like that, or you had to do it again. Writing was seriously hijacking my reading time. I sulked a lot and found a kindred spirit in Aspoestertjie. We both had to perform such horrible, mundane tasks. Yup, writing stupid sentences was just as bad as picking peas from the ashes.
Thankfully, the comfort of escaping to the local library came around fortnightly. Between me and that horrible sister, we had twelve library cards (told you I had lovely parents). We went to the library every two weeks and rotated our library books between the two of us and for a couple of days, the world was at peace. Until my mother got a phone call from the local librarian.
You know when you read a book, and there are just some words, sentences and passages that speak to you in such a way you just have to highlight them? I did that. A lot. And you know you dog-ear certain pages, because you want to read them again later? I did that too. A lot. My mom sighed a couple of times and then turned into my fairy godmother once again. She came up with an ingenious solution to all the world’s problems! (The world does revolve around you at the age of 8 or 9.) We made a quick stop at the local CNA and she bought me my very first diary. Now I’m as much a “Dear Diary”-girl as I am a “Dear Abby”-girl. The intend of this beautifully bound-in-pink diary, was for me to copy all those words, sentences and passages I just couldn’t send unappreciated back to the library.
The world turned into a magical place in which I reside to this day. Putting pen to paper became my super-power. All those wonderful words are considered sacred beyond measure and has to be treated as such. Through the years, I’ve collected quite a number of ‘book diaries’.
I still diarise every single book that I read. Some with only the date completed, book title and author. Others I fill up page after page of notes and quotes and copied passages. And yes, it still is pen to paper.
Footnote: Of course I have a Goodreads profile and a Kindle that can just do all that for me. I use those too. A lot.