I do not remember life before writing. It’s always been a constant in my life. Growing up I was always drowning in a sea of books. The Braddock Carnegie Library was our afterschool program and our summer camp. During the school year they helped us with our homework and in the summer they taught us how to swim.
We formed forever friendships there and before Christmas we’d have a huge party and they’d give us gifts. The best gift they unknowingly gave me was my love for books and my thirst for words.
Encyclopedias, dictionaries, instructions… if it had words, I was reading it! I had a library card well before I truly knew how to sign my name. I just wanted to lounger around the children’s section and travel to different places through books. The librarian Miss. Francine was always happy to see me. I’d return one book and take one home with me. I was so excited. I’d tell everyone who would listen about the places I visited in books. Even the people who wouldn’t listen got an earful.
Goosebumps, Bernstein Bears, the entire Baby Sitters Club, Laurel McDaniel, Sharon Flake, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelo… I considered all these places home and all these people friends. I don’t know who bought me my first book but I thank them.
I just pray that somebody’s child is throwing a tantrum over a book. I pray some kid in the children’s section of the Braddock Library is keeping my seat warm and visiting all my old friends ensuring they’re not lonely. I hope that kid checks out book after book even before they can sign their own name. They’ll shout about adventures until someone will listen because one day they’ll grow up and realize that books aren’t just words, they’ve a love affair with life.