READING AND FREEDOM
The Family Files
Rio waited for months but finally J.K. Rowling's latest Potter book came out. Even fever couldn't prevent his parents from getting Rio the book, and then it was straight back to Kamuning to slow down again.
Rio soared as soon as opened its first pages and was quite a head-turner on the way back.
People would stare at him or poke one another.
Twice, two sets of teenaged girls giggled and pointed at him, whispering "Cute the boy! Look!" while he pored through his story sitting on a chair or on the floor of the MRT coach. By the time we got back to the house, he was in chapter eight and so thoroughly delighted.
The boy's a bookaholic like his mum. He consumes books the way he scarfs down rice, which is in great and regular quantities. He's the only eight year-old I know who passes up on whole day PlayStation sessions in order to read. And so far, thanks to the piggy bank habit, Kala and I have managed to keep our promise to the boy that he will always have books to read. Same with Luna actually.
It's an expensive promise, no doubt, but it is one that we intend to keep. It is our own space program for the kids and the two of them will travel far greater distances than NASA astronauts.
It doesn't matter that his new Harry Potter book is hardbound and 800 pages long. He actually welcomes the length and breadth of his reading material, which he relates to the story rather than the union of ink and trees.
He's quite free now -- so long as he maintains his reading interest, at least -- and he understands this.
In his world of books there are fewer and fewer boundaries. Whole galaxies open up to him and worlds collide and meld as says hello to all manner of beings, good and bad and strange and normal. Or, as he'd probably say, characters that are "nefarious" and "sinister" and "wicked" and "chivalrous".
The more words he learns, the hungrier he gets.
The other month Luna was insisting to him that in /the Tom and Jerry show, the cat was actually the good guy and the mouse the bad one, because Jerry, she said, was always trying to annoy Tom the cat.
Rio replied: "What?! You got it backwards. It's Tom who's bad. What he wants is to masticate and massacre mice."
Which of course annoyed Luna since, to her, her brother was again not making any sense.
She'll know soon enough about the wonders of words. In fact I think she already understands. She's been writing to different folks actually. Sending them by post and then jumping up and down when the mailman brings back a reply after a week or two.
I remember feeling the same way once. I still think postal mail is one of the best things that this world has to offer. Nothing like opening an envelope and reading letters sent by friends and family, with handwritten ones being tops and versions printed out coming at a distant second.
I used to send myself postcards regularly, just to get the pleasure of running my finger over the stamp or the ink of the postal register. Each time I think of letters sent by post it makes me feel sad.
Speed chats and instantaneous electronic mail -- it's all overrated.
I prefer scratch marks, erasures, drawings, scribbles on the margins, smudges, and stains and the still mesmerizing nature of the fact that a few pieces of paper traveled over vast tracts of land or vast seas carrying only the sunshine and pollen of ideas. From one mind to the hand of another. From the hand to the mind.
Letters that once made us laugh and pout and weep. But this is all about another story and I need to go.
Thanks for dropping by. #
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