Moshannon Valley Elementary School – Madera, Pennsylvania
My fifth-grade teacher (who will not be named in this blog in fear of summoning the demon that occupied her flesh) gave us a writing assignment for our composition books: write a story. Obviously, this woman was packed to the brim with inspiration & vision, right? We could write a story about whatever we wanted, so I did. I never claimed to be a usual child, I had a wild imagination, and wanted everyone to be excited about it. In that tan-and-red composition book I penned a tale about a child that goes to the doctor to get something out of his eye, and the doctor turns out to be an alien cyborg whose head walked around on metal octopus ears. The doctor would shoot tendrils—long string like appendages, often found on plants—to grab things. Mrs. “I look too much like my brother for anyone to be comfortable about it” says to me: “I don’t even know what that word means.”
This woman was an educator. An educator was giving me shit about using a big word that exceeded her understanding.
Continue reading “A Diet of Dummy-Books: How Comic Books & Graphic Novels Ignited My Love for Reading“ →
Picture it: the early 1990’s. The Book It program by Pizza Hut is taking the school systems by storm! Free pizza for reading? Sign me up! Part of the program is that if all of the students met their Book It goals, the entire class would be treated to a pizza party. Sounds simple enough — read books, get pizza. Slam dunk. Home run. Touchdown.
Because it’s the early 1990s, there is an affliction going around that a lot of people either aren’t aware of, don’t know enough about, or dismiss it as new age bullshit: Attention Deficit Disorder. If you were a parent in that time, you couldn’t fathom the thought of your child having that thing they talk about on the news — even if you thought your child did, celebrities said the drugs to help with the affliction are bad and cause horrible conditions. No parent wants to put their kid through that. The kids themselves don’t quite understand why they can’t pay attention like the other kids.
Continue reading “Five Ways to Recommend Books to People with ADHD” →
DNF (v). 1. To put a book down without any intention of picking it up again to finish reading it; an acronym of the phrase “Did Not Finish.”
Over the last two years, I’ve had great opportunities to examine my penchant for holding on to something too long, and realizing the harm that it may cause me. I’m the kind of guy that can’t be told the stove is hot — I will only completely understand when I’ve been burned by the stove. I can assure you, this aspect of my personality has done a lot more harm to my well-being than benefit.
I think a lot of it comes from my cultural upbringing. Yes, I am American, but I am also a natural citizen of BFE* Appalachian coal country. My countrymen went to work before the sun came up and went home after the sun went down. We use everything until it can no longer be held together with tape, or glue, and we are going to complain loudly about the cost of replacing it. It is a society norm to see something through because you’ve committed to it. If you spent hard earned money on a book, then by God you better read it.
Continue reading “When it’s time to dnf a book” →
Being a bibliophile with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) comes with a unique set of challenges. First, the books have to be the kind of book that grips me from the beginning and stimulates dopamine production in a big way. Second, if someone tells me I have to read a book, I have absolutely no desire to read it whatsoever. I’m sure you can see how reading assignments in high school were a challenge.
I’ve always had a desire to be well-read and I am for the most part. The struggle with ADHD, and trying to cope with the disorder while it isn’t being properly managed, is that people who aren’t aware of the affliction may think I was just a slacker. When getting a reading assignment, I wanted to devour the work, but executive dysfunction wouldn’t allow me. When you struggle with wanting to be something, and your body not allowing you to do so, you develop defense mechanisms. One of my biggest ones was aversion to authority. If I gave the impression that I was going to buck against authority, no one would be surprised when I did, and I wouldn’t let anyone down.
For this week’s blog, I wanted to share five books I loved reading in high school (or was told to, read them later in life, and kicked myself for not enjoying them at the time) that I would never admit when I was being assigned the reading — because I wanted people to see me as anti-authority.
Continue reading “Five Books I Loved Reading in High School (That I Would Have Never Admitted at the Time)” →
I have resolved to undertaking a reading challenge this Summer — it’s a challenge that I have designed myself, and with any luck, will broaden my literary exposure spectrum. If you’d like to participate, I’d love to have a support system and encouragement as I go along.
The challenge is to read 15 books this Summer, an ambitious pace to a lot of folks, myself included. The rules are simple: only one book can satisfy one category. I’m going for diversity and a broad spectrum of books.
Continue reading “My Summer Reading Challenge!” →