Monday, May 23, 2011

Why I Read

@French_Freddy's Reading Evolution 

When I was 7, my parents moved to Central (and - to my young mind - very poor) Kenya, from West (and - clearly - very posh) Lands, following a significant change in social status. At that young age, I gradually grew tired of the nagging. "Why won't you take me to the mall? Why can't I go see my friends? and Why don't you buy me [this] or [that]?" were replaced with an urge to find a good story to escape to. 

I read because I needed to feel, needed to live and feel alive. Because I needed to think, understand and communicate with grandeur. With that which I could have. That which I could be. Eventually, I'd find a writer who threw me the kind of grip I was prepared to catch. From John Kriamiti to Ben Carson; The River Between to Beyond the River(s) Kwai and Yei; The Da Vinci Code to The Broken Drum; Mills & Boons to Sweet Valley Twins (yes, them too, and I would TOTALLY deny it later :)) ... quite simply, I. read. everything.

Today I read because it is written. Because I have learnt to love chasing after a good story. Because there are ideas trapped in writing somewhere out there; ideas altogether too good not to be read. I read to wonder why they were written. Away from the inculcations that are many a reviewer waxing philosophic about nothing. I read because like Silverstein, I hope to be that rare adult who can still think like a child. Still think anew, with no burden of opinion and wont.

I read because ignorance is grossly overrated. Because I live in an age that allows me to read anything. To read because I write, and in truth, so do you. It could be that exam for a course you wrote notes on; that mwakenya you wrote to cheat in an exam; that search term you keyed in on Google to find some info. 

I read because everything I love is written. Be it love itself, or history; be it language itself, or mystery. Be it art, music, photography, war, or even life itself. Because actors are sometimes so painfully unflattering that only my mind can construct corrections for them.

They say a picture's worth a thousand words. Give me a thousand words any day. da Vinci's word's on what he felt painting the Mona Lisa, or Monet's with the Bassin aux Nymphéas. 

Ok, maybe the Monet was a close call...
Because the written word is more mature, better meditated; because I can think, and think therefore I exist. I read to play with Zinedine Zidane; I read to rule alongside Cleopatra; I read to fight with Achilles and Alexander, think with Socrates and Bonaparte. I read to look up the Eiffel Tower, paint with Monet, compose with Mozart and write with Hugo; to revel with Keith Richards, rebel with the Maji Maji, smoke something with Bob Marley, and something else with Christopher Hitchens.  

I read, quite simply, because my sanity depends upon it. Because all things said and done, stick me in a room full of books and nothing else (ok, maybe a lifetime of free internet and some bitings), and I die a happy old man. A man in love with word. A man satisfied with his wordy relationship. A well-worded man.

1 comment:

  1. I did kinda get carried away there. As long as you get it and I do...vanity very fair


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