Living a fanciful life

My seventh and eighth grade literature class read Ode To the Artichoke recently. This inspired a lively discussion about dream jobs and careers. When one of the students asked me what my dream job was, I paused to consider the question. I've always been one of those "what if" people, the kind who imagines endless possibilities and avenues. I connect with the speaker in Robert Frost's epic poem The Road Not Taken. In truth, my own career path has been anything but a straight line.

I smiled at my class and told them, "This is my dream job (one of them, anyway!)." One of my-very-favorite-things-in-the-whole-wide-world is reading. Listening to students having a discussion about a literature selection is fascinating.  

Being a life-long book lover stirs one's imagination. When I was about 10, my father hid my Easter basket in the drop ceiling, I felt like Nancy Drew as I tapped each tile, searching for a tell-tale audio clue.

If my mother was paying attention, she could have probably told you what I was reading at any given time based on how I referred to her. For example, when I was going through my Little House on the Prairie stage, I called her "Ma."  During my Trixie Belden phase, she was "Moms." And cringing, I admit that after reading Little Women, I called my mother "Marmee" for a while. (Mom took this in stride, but my sisters sniffed at my pretentiousness.) The only time I remember catching grief for something I called my parents was when I referred to my father as "my old man" in a conversation with my mother. Hmmm. I don't remember what book that was from, but I DO know I never used that expression again.

Indulging my love of reading does have its downside. For instance...to this day, I am unable to kill spiders. More than once I've climbed into my shower, eyes bleary with sleep, only to be confronted by a large spider. I do the official dance of avoidance, usually accompanied by a high pitched squeak of some sort.  But even as I'm primordially pitching a fit, I sentimentally think of Charlotte's Web. Who could kill a creature that writes the word "radiant" in a web? I end up giving the spider a lecture about personal space instead and we declare an uneasy truce. Anthropomorphizing a daddy long legs spider must say something about my subconscious, but I don't want to know what it is.

I figure that I can't be the only one. How has your love of books affected you? Did you pack school lunches consisting of chunks of french bread and cheese after you read Heidi? Oh, wait, that was me.