I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. There’s something thrilling about the way a book can transport you from the hum-drum life of housework and carpool, to an English ballroom with silk gowns and handsome Lords, in a matter of seconds.
However, reading didn’t always come so easily for me. I remember walking the rows of my elementary school library running my fingers along the spines of all the magical stories wanting to be told. Yet unfortunately for me, if the books didn’t come with a picture scattered here and there to help me follow along with the story, I could easily become lost. So my options were limited.
Having two children with reading disabilities, it’s so obvious to me now that I suffered from the same undiagnosed challenges, but in the seventies, it was labeled lazy or disinterested. At least, that’s what my teachers would write on my report cards.
Even with my struggles, I didn’t stop reading. I couldn’t. I found as I got older and with practice, reading became a little easier. I still missed important words in text and flipped words around, but I’d recognize my mistake by the awkward flow of the sentence. The constant challenge to read one sentence after another, however, led to frustration and I hardly ever finished a book in its entirety.
THAT IS, until my best friend lent me her copy of Shanna by the great Kathleene Woodiwiss. It took me forever to read that book. Have you seen it? It’s huge. But I eventually did finish and became hooked on the wonderful world of Romance fiction.
I fell head over heels in love with Johanna Lindsey and her hero Viking Gods. Garrick! Selig! A shirtless giant, slinging a sword-YES PLEASE! I couldn’t get enough. Johanna Lindsey fan for life!
My sister suggested I read Mary Jo Putney. So I did. I was so used to my heroes being the cover model of everything perfect, from big huge muscles and gorgeous chiseled faces. Putney’s flawed and imperfect men were a bit of an adjustment for me, but only for about two beats of a second. You can’t help but adore her vulnerable heroes and simple, yet lovely heroines.
These authors ignited something inside of me. A desire to create my own captivating land of make believe. I’d composed a few short stories in high school. When I was twenty-two, I scrawled my first full length, HAND WRITTEN novel in a five subject notebook. My hero was based on Don Johnson’s character from Miami Vice. Stop laughing!!! The point is I’ve loved telling tales, for as long as I can remember.
I lived secretly under this shadow of insecurity. Could I dare think it possible that I could become a published author with my challenges? It took me years, but I did get published and it was an unbelievable feeling. Don’t get me wrong, the struggle is real and it still affects me now, but my desire to write is ultimately stronger.
So Dear Bad Girlz of the world, the moral of my story is this: Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from accomplishing your dreams. We are more courageous than we realize.
By the way, all those report cards many years ago, also came attached with “Lori spends way too much time daydreaming.” And they said that as if it were a bad thing. When I looked out the window to the playground, I didn’t see monkey bars and see-saws. I saw ships and planks and pirates.
What authors inspired you to become a writer or an avid reader? I’d love to hear about them.
Remember to Dream Big!