People assume I read a lot, and I understand that. Being an author, it makes sense I would love to read. And I do, I really do. But it’s not the reading part that I struggle with.
It’s not my fault, really. Okay maybe it is. I used to read anything with words. My mother told me in kindergarten, the teacher created a separate reading group just for me. I was so far ahead of all the other kids, I didn’t fit into any group. As I grew older, I’d finish my schoolwork faster than any child, so I’d pull out a book and read until the other kids caught up. At home, I’d read stacks of books and ask lots of questions. And I remembered it all! Honestly, I was a pretty smart young lady.
Then I had children, and all that clever and insightful information got shoved into a closet somewhere in my brain. I didn’t have time to discuss the history of the Roman Empire and how it relates to our political structure. No, I had to remember which kid needed which medicine and that I had to buy diapers the next day or Cameron would be wearing a pillowcase around his middle. And I spent a lot of time discussing which super hero was the best—Batman or Superman?
The teenage years came, and I needed my brain cells to keep up with school assignments and extracurricular activities. Instead of reading the current New York Times best seller, I was proofing English papers and organizing bake sales.
The children left home and my brain whispered to me late at night. “Jann, don’t you want to choose a book from that pile and read it, just like you used to?” I agreed with my brain and took up reading with gusto. Being an official empty nester has its benefits. Ah, those creamy pages with dark inky words…how I’d missed you!
I pulled a book off the shelf, caressing the cover and savoring the moment just before I began the first chapter. Curling up in a comfy chair with a soft blanket, I sat my coffee beside me. I took a deep breath, a sip of caffeinated goodness, and I began. The words were a magic carpet, transporting me to the main characters. Another sip and I lost myself.
And yet, there was something amiss. The back of my brain itched a bit. The storyline seemed so familiar. Did the author commit the original writer’s sin, and…gasp! Did the author plagiarize? No, that couldn’t be right! Jann, just keep reading.
But I was just a step ahead of the characters, not directing their path but predicting it somehow. Yeah, Elisandre would choose Hebert over Leopold. That wasn’t what the writer wanted me to think, but I knew what Elisandre would do.
I started to think I’d developed psychic powers. I began researching, trying to discover if others developed their sixth sense into their fifties like me. John of course laughed at me. “Honey, if you can predict the future, then why do we sit down to supper before you realize we’re out of napkins?” Husbands really can be annoying.
I showed John the book, proof positive I had a connection with the supernatural. He glanced at the cover. “You brought that book into our marriage! You told me you read it in college, and loved it, so you kept it. Don’t you remember?” Was that a rhetorical question?
So it’s official—my children destroyed my brain cells. The upside is that I can reread my favorite books as if it’s the first time. Because in many ways it is. Now I just need John to make me a list of my favorite books.
Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1985 and lives in Grand Cane, Louisiana. She also writes books, which are for sale at www.jannfranklin.com. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org