I am a voracious reader. Although, I was not always that way. My love for reading started when I was seven. It did not develop naturally as it would to those scholastic individuals, it was forced on me. I remember all too clearly the day the reading boot camp started. It was one sunny afternoon after lunch. I was in the backyard with my friends from the neighborhood, baking mud cake using empty milk cans. My oldest sister came out and said something along the lines of the day being too hot, we shouldn’t be outside, my friends should go home and maybe come back later and other similar things but I latched on to I must go inside and read. I remember whining and complaining but she just stood by the kitchen door waiting for me to move. My friends started leaving one by one and I was left staring at the watery mud cake with a small handprint on top. I recall being assaulted by a strong surge of annoyance to the point of throwing a tantrum but…I didn’t. Because it was my oldest sister and you just don’t throw a fit when you don’t get your way with “an oldest sister”. Oldest sisters are the law when parents are not around. Such was the case that fateful afternoon.
I wanted to think that I was a smart kid and during those weeks that I had to finish Sweet Valley Twin, I deeply believed I was. I pretended to read the book, counting enough days when I could safely declare that I was done. I read the first few pages to get to know the characters, the middle part to get what the story was about and of course the last few pages to see how the story ended. However, my sister was smarter. She sat me down in the living room and to my dismay started a question and answer review to find out whether I actually read the book. Needless to say, that same day of the Q and A, I re-read (if I can call it that) the book. I kept reading until I read the entire Sweet Valley Twin and Sweet Valley High series. Without me noticing it, I was enjoying reading and I was actually the one asking for more books to read. It came to the point when I have read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series in the House and I started reading A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey. My mom saw me with it and promptly confiscated the book saying it wasn’t for kids to read. What normal kid wouldn’t sneak it back after hearing that? I would hide in my room behind the bed and read it and hide it under my pillow every night so I could read it the moment I wake up. Then came the Mills and Boon pocketbooks which I realized were “not for kids” books as well so I read them all in secret.
Our sister showered us with books and they were a comfort when typhoons would hit us and there would be no electricity for days. When I was in college and couldn’t sleep, I would read under my blanket with a clip-on lamp so I didn’t disturb my roommate. When e-books became popular, I had about twenty in my phone each time and would read any chance I got. My eyes would be gritty and red from squinting at the tiny screen.
These days, I am trying to teach myself to paint. I have been watching tutorials on painting for months now and have become a great fan of Bob Ross. So far, I have managed to paint (copied off the internet) three paintings. At the moment, however, my interest is in watercolor painting and I have been failing miserably. But I am not giving up because if there is anything I’ve learned from the reading boot camp, it is that we can learn anything. I think that if I paint enough times, doing it over and over again, just like reading, I’ll get the hang of it…or not. I am an optimist. If I have to put myself in a painting boot camp I’ll do it. I just need one good watercolor painting!