I signed up for a yoga class for writers because I needed to focus.
I'd successfully written a novel; it was even published. But for the past year or so, I'd been unable to concentrate. During the first class in the series, which was about sound, Lisa, the instructor, rang a bell and we listened until the walls soaked up the ringing. We ohm-ed three times as a group, the room vibrated with sound. We could feel it against our skin. We stretched and repeated the sun salutation; our bodies morphed into snakes, cats, dogs, and children.
A novel by Nina Sankovitch
First and foremost, of course, I don't want people to lose their jobs. I also don't want people to be without free books, free Internet access and the free expertise of our librarians.
I want there to be afterschool programs where children can learn to love books and learn how to let their imaginations roam the aisles of stories, fictional and nonfictional, that will inspire them to be the grown-up versions of their curious, playful selves.
Lying in bed, or sitting on an adult's lap, the words flow over them, and unleash their imaginations. I love reading to my children and asking them what they imagine the characters or their houses look like. My children are surprised that they can actually describe those things, that they'd formed a clear idea of what a room looks like, or a town, just by listening to the words.
It's a wonderful world to introduce our children to. And every time they open a book, that experience is available to them - again and again.
And it's available to us grown-ups as well. This spring, I started attending more readings and blogging about the "readings" scene in and around Philadelphia.
It's nice as a grown-up to be read to as well. Most of you might not have that experience unless, of course, you have the time and desire to go out and hear some authors doing it - or you're lucky enough to find a partner who likes to woo you by reading poetry aloud to you.
My husband went with me recently to hear Colson Whitehead read from his latest book, "Sag Harbor," a coming-of-age tale of a black teen in an African-American summer enclave on the East End of Long Island, N.Y.
Throughout the reading, Whitehead's silky voice and impeccable poetic timing captured the audience's attention and made us laugh. Made my husband cackle loudly. (My husband's laugh is one of the reasons I married him.)
Now, as my husband reads "Sag Harbor" at home, he laughs out loud. I'm sure in part because he can still hear Whiehead's voice reading to him. He laughs, and I find myself saying, "What?" - and then he reads the selection to me. (Which is another reason I married him.)
THIS FALL, if the Free Liibrary is still open for business, authors like Lorrie Moore, Lydia Davis, Sue Grafton, Howard Dean, Ralph Nader, James Ellroy, Richard Russo and Sherman Alexie will be reading. Literally something for everyone.
And most events are free. So why not spoil yourself with a story at the end of the day - if we can avoid the worst-case scenario. Sit comfortably in the gently inclined seating of the auditorium as the author's words flow out to the grown-ups listening and responding while those words fill the air and their imaginations.
For information on contacting your representative in Harrisburg to help the libraries, go to the Free Library Web site at www.freelibrary.org/about/budget.htm.
Copyright © 2009 - 2011 Susan Barr-Toman