Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE MANY LIVES OF A READER


It is not true we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. –S. I. Hayakawa

 

I’ve always believed that reading was a doorway into other lives, other worlds, but I’m not sure I ever really considered the implications of that until my friend Marie entered a nursing home. Active all her life and still doing volunteer work at 90 some years old, Marie now has limited mobility. To many in her situation, this would mean a life, a world, defined, for the most part, by the four walls of her room.
 

But Marie is a reader. And that reading knocks down those four walls. With a book in her hands, Marie faces the perils of a Montana winter while homesteading, foils the raiders of a vast airship, or soars dragon-back to fight another insidious threadfall. She inhabits bodies that walk, that run, that jump from windows or out of the way of oncoming traffic. She lives in the present, the past, or the far distant future. Transported by reading, she can be anyone and travel anywhere. And that beats the hell out of where you can go with a wheelchair or a walker.
 
 
 

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