A thousand lives

August 29, 2013 Writing  No comments

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. Then man who never reads lives only once.
George R.R. Martin

A love of writing can only stem from a love of reading. My love of reading was inherited by both of my parents, but especially my dad. I got my love of reading and all things fantastical from him. I also got his sensitivity (just about anything can make us tear up), his sense of wonder, and the need to permanently scar our bodies with ink. And also, because of him, I always feel the need to stop and buy a lemonade from a little kids lemonade stand whenever I pass by one or if given the choice between a chain restaurant (ie: Tim Horton’s) or a mom-and-pop shop (ie: Elaine’s Bagels) you always go to the latter because that is just the right thing to do.

Everyone loves their dad (well, hopefully), but I always get filled with a certain kind of pride when I talk about my dad because my dad is the “cool dad”. My dad was the kind of dad that had a life before he had kids and still kept his own identity while raising us. When my preppy, Catholic-Italian raised mother met my father he had a mohawk, wore combat boots (complete with motor cycle), went to concerts at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, and had the whole 80’s punk-rock look down (my grandfather nearly went into cardiac arrest when he first met my dad). I’ll never forget the time when I was 8 years old and my dad, my life-long friend Sam, and I drove down to Florida to spend a week with my grandparents. While Sam and I were sitting on the tailgate of my dad’s red Ford pickup, all the apartment complex kids came up to us, and during the conversation one of them asked, “Who is that big guy with all the tattoos?” And when I causally answered, “My dad” they all took a step back in unison. Sam and I laughed.

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Dad, me, and Grandpa Saponaro

I always saw my dad as not only my father, but as a person – a person I wanted to be around and hang out with. I grew up reading Harry Potter, playing Dungeons and Dragon, ditching school to see Lord of the Rings at the movie theater, and playing make believe (or larping, for a lack of a better word).  My dad introduced me to a world of different people with different lifestyles and because of this I learned to accept and embrace people the way they are, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to share their company and learn a thing or two from them along the way. My dad also always treated me as a person (not just his child) with ideas, opinions, thoughts, and feelings of my own that had merit and were worth being heard.

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Dad and I circa 1995 (?) for the Daddy Daughter dance or a wedding. I’m a little fuzzy on the details.

Back to the original topic: The reason I love reading is because my dad bought me the first Harry Potter book. And then took me to the movies. And introduced me to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. And gave me his whole fantasy book collection. And introduces me to a whole bunch of new books that he reads. Because of all these things, I have lived a thousand lives and plan to live many more. I have lived in Middle Earth, gone to Hogwarts, traveled back in time and into the future, I’ve been a warrior, a vampire, a society girl, a detective, an angst-y teenage girl (many a time), I’ve fallen in and out of love, and a plethora of other characters because of my love of reading. And because of my love of reading, I want to write new stories for other people to live new lives through.

We often get together for coffee to talk about life, religion, books, movies, and ideas. He’s one of the reasons that I feel confident in pursuing a career as a writer. The other day when we were out for lunch I told him that I felt that people would perceive me as being lazy for pursing a career in writing as opposed to getting a “job” or going on to grad school right away after graduation. And he said to me: “Lauren, I don’t think anyone who knows you would ever think that you’re lazy. Also, who cares? What … they’re jealous that they’re stuck at some 9-to-5 prison job that they hate while you get to stay at home and do what you love? Screw ’em.” Well, Dad, if you say so.

 

Farewell & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity

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