Though there are many reasons I read and write, the two reasons I attribute with having the greatest impact on me were the systems I was raised in and my personal desire read. In the Jewish religion, one of their chief priorities is education. So as a child of a Jewish family, I was raised to be well educated. When I became of age, I was immediately sent to school. I was expected to do well and as such I did my best to succeed. However, given the familial push and system to excel, these expectations would eventually grow into a personal desire to do well for my own sake.
I originally learned to read from my very patient mother. She would calmly read children’s books aloud and have me follow along with her. Some of my favorite childhood books were, Goodnight Moon, Curious George, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. If I were to liken the process of learning to read to anything I experience today, the best way to put it would be learning a new language. Trying to burn into my mind the meaning of letters and their corresponding sounds from what my thoughts and speech consisted of was a long process. Eventually my reading developed, or rather my ability to read, however I wasn’t a veracious childhood reader. The first serious book I tried reading was the hobbit, I don’t know whether it was the first book on my timeline but it is probably one of the most telling. I had seen The Lord of the Rings movies on tv and then had a desire to read the books. After a quick Google Search, knew I had to start with The Hobbit. I bought the book, but didn’t begin reading immediately; I mostly admired the cover and just read the synopsis. However, on a trip to New York with my grandfather, I decided to read the book while on the bus. I was very nervous reading an “adult” book, so I read with great concentration and believed that every word mattered. By the time we arrived in New York I had only finished the first chapter. I was disappointed in myself for not getting further but then realized I had unintentionally memorized the entire chapter in my head. After the trip it would be a few years before I picked the book back up again. to be frank I didn’t really start reading for enjoyment until 7th grade when I picked up the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I suppose the “older-kid” book captivated my attention and the desire to read was rekindled. My joy for the story and unexpected pace of finishing these books made me feel a sense of pride and growth from when I originally tried to read the hobbit. With this new found ability, I truly read the hobbit for the first time. From then on I had the confidence to read any book I desired.
Like the significant markers of my life as a reader, my first experiences as a writer stem from my middle school years. I would say that my writing tasks followed from what I imagine would be a standard academic progression: summaries, critiques, analysis, to creative writing. While summaries are useful, I find them to be dulled down versions of a text or event. Critiques rely too much on personal bias and preferences. I personally enjoy writing analysis of text because it gives me the opportunity of expressing the implications of actions and their emotional impact. My experience with creative writing is fairly limited since I have unfortunately neither given myself the time to write them nor typically assigned to so. I find writing creatively can be therapeutic in the sense of reflection of one’s own past and productive by guiding oneself for the future.
At this moment in my life, I recognize how fortunate I am to have had the support and experiences that have shaped me into the man I am today. Without them, I certainly would not have a personal passion for reading nor a growing sense of understanding for other peoples’ emotions.