“Reading is not work, not a chore, not a drudgery; reading is the most joyful thing, yet, in the world.” – James Patterson
I grew up in a very small town — the smallest municipality in fact in Negros Occidental, or so my Papa said.
I lived there for almost 20 years of my life. Although I spent most of my time in Bacolod, this is the place where my childhood evolved.
The recollection that I have of my younger years was going with my Tito and our dog, Iris, to go hunting for birds. This place had some sugarcane plantations and it was fairly easy to catch some birds at that time. Other than that, I climbed trees, collected seashells, played with my rabbits and my white mice, goaded Bor, our mischievous monkey, and fed my Papa’s fighting fowls and my fishes. As much as I enjoyed these activities, there was one thing which made me the happiest — reading.
I was very lucky that I was raised in a household where my parents were very hands-on with my education. We were encouraged to read encyclopedias; my mom made me spelling cards; my dad forced me to love Math. I loved studying. I do not remember hating school.
Because I loved school, the love for reading seemed almost automatic. I loved the library and my most precious possessions were my library card, a pen and a notebook. I think I spent most of my time in that place than anywhere else. I read almost everything. Of course, same as with any booklover I suppose, I went through the phase of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and Liz and Jessica of Sweet Valley High. And then I evolved and loved the occult novels of Rice and King, and the scandalous Westmorelands of McNaught.
I could never stop reading.
I loved how authors conveyed powerful words. Words that moved the readers. Words that can take you anywhere.
Because I loved reading so much (I remember we had a hammock where I spent my time when I wanted to read), I wanted to emulate my favorite authors. So the writing began. I was part of the writing group in grade school and my English teachers loved me. When I reached high school, the first thing I did was to join the schoolpaper which I headed during my senior year. In college, I persevered, trying to write when I can while juggling between my two majors.
The most impactful that I have written by far was this story — A Love I Never Had . People thought it was real; although I really intended it to be very personal. I seldom wrote prose. I was more into the journalism and poetry genres. I wanted to write short novels; I just knew that I could not sustain its plot. One day, I hope I can.
Reading and writing are two sides of my favorite coin. I do not think I could do one without the other. It is happiness at its cheapest. Yet the most satisfying vice that I have.
How about you? What makes you really happy?