a post by Betsy Schow
My mom used to say, "Need a vacation, read a book."
Books have the awesome power to allow readers to escape their lives and step into a new world.
Recently, I've figured out it goes even further than that. My name is Betsy and I have LMD, Literary Mood Disorder.
Whenever I read (or now write for that matter) I am completely immersed into the emotions of the book. A few nights ago, I was really weepy and couldn't figure out why. It's because I was reading a particularly sad book and couldn't shake the emotion even when I'd closed the cover.
Thus I realized I am a total sheep, and should have figured this out years ago. In fact, I bet I was such a moody teenager thanks to the mass quantities of V.C Andrews I read.
Or maybe another road sign was when my husband started buying me romance novels around year 7 in our marriage. (first child was born shortly thereafter)
You are what you eat. Well, you are what you read and write too. Books inspire, lighten, frighten, and sink.
The two I'm working on now might just suck my soul through a straw. They are both a lot darker than I am usually, but tackle subjects that I had something to say about. Redemption and choice for the first, and cyber bullying and suicide on the second. So for the last six months I have been the most anti-social, down in the dumps creature to grace a keyboard. My poor, poor family. Hopefully it will be worth it when I come out the other end having grown as a writer and a person.
So to anyone who has ever said, "Oh, it's no big deal. I don't care what my kids read, they're just books after all and not real" -- I attack you with bookmarks and hope those papercuts sting.
We need to watch what we let our children read. We need to watch what we read, keeping in mind how books are changing us. I am not advocating we only read Happy Fluffy Bunny books or keep our kids away from getting a glimpse of the sometimes sad and harsh realities of the world. But never forget that books and words have power.
To change a family
To change the course of a nation
To change the soul
In either direction