The real title to this blog entry is “How Reading Saved My Life.”
I’ve decided to embrace the whole “Google search term” thing.
No use fighting it, or trying to class it up with highbrow intellectual titles.
Nope. I’m giving EVERY BLOG POST a lascivious title.
Otherwise, how will I continue to attract the meritorious people of the Interwebz who are looking for,
“wife is always dry with me but if she reed sex stories she gets wet.”
(this is just a guess, pal – but maybe she would be a little moister if you weren’t a complete illiterate).
But now that you’re here, stick around. I promise to jazz up the story with the pottymouthed language and sexual innuendos you come here to read.
Because I led you on, I’ll provide sordid details of my deflowerication at the end.
Which did not happen, contrary to the post image, with the Wu Tang clan “en masse” (French for gang-bang.)
I wasn’t always the Happening Chick you see in my saucy gravatar.
I grew up on Staten Island, the forgotten borough.
The New York subway system doesn’t run there.
You get there via the Staten Island Ferry, which is like the Love Boat – only when you get off, you find out you have herpes.
I lived in one of the worst housing projects in all of NYC – The Stapleton Projects.
I had this lovely view just outside my front door.
We were one of the very few white families residing there.
Stapleton was made famous as the birthplace of the Wu-Tang Clan.
They were a hardcore gangsta rap group, back in the day when gangsta rap meant you had a prison tattoo and an unlicensed gun, not a trust fund and a beach house.
In case you’re wondering why we grew up there – my dad was a cop, and we moved there when the projects were built for city workers.
Unfortunately, dad died, leaving mom with six of us.
The projects morphed into Section 8 welfare housing, and mom couldn’t afford to move us out.
So there I was… a skinny nerdy white girl growing up in a gangsta rap video.
Pippi Longstocking meets Ghostface Killah.
I got my butt kicked on a regular basis. Learned how to project fight – “hit them hard, fast, and FROM BEHIND.”
Being tough – awesome.
Feeling like an outsider your entire childhood – not so much. I was desperate to find an escape.
So I read.
Constantly, because we were poor and books were available.
I didn’t know it yet, but I was actually working on one of the defining characteristics of my life –
RAISING MY CONSCIOUSNESS.
A bizarre science fiction masterpiece of Inter-dimensional time travel, quantum physics, and plucky heroine Meg Murray fighting the iconic battle of good vs. evil.
Meg – trapped and unseen in a family of brothers, wild curly hair, braces, glasses. too smart for her friends, alienated at a young age by her lack of patience for utter BULLSHIT.
She was ME. My literary doppelgänger.
Reading A Wrinkle in Time is similar to taking a hit of really strong blotter acid.
This book twisted my mind up to where 35 years later, it has still not fully recovered.
A New York City program allowed poor slum kids to obtain their working papers at 13.
Yes. Isn’t that enviable? Instead of attending rainbow parties at 13,
like the entitled brats where I now live, I was told,
“Happy birthday! Now get a job!”
My first job –
The Public Library. Surprise, surprise.
The library owned every banned, highly coveted book – but did not circulate them.
The banned book has a longstanding and ludicrous history.
Did you know that the innocuous Where’s Waldo was banned?
Amongst those thousands of characters a tiny woman on the beach showed microscopic side boob.
Some degenerate with a magnifying glass and a propensity for comic book erections actually found this.
The library sequestered all illicit books away in a super-duper top-secret file named “Banned Books.”
I cleverly unearthed these nuggets of literary rebellion.
And read every motherfucker in that file.
I discovered On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It’s an American classic of crazy adventure and freedom.
It’s positively riddled with drugs, jazz, drugs, sex, and drugs.
I tore through Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.
Naked Lunch? This isn’t really a novel; it’s a twisted series of disturbing, drug ridden, sexually explicit vignettes.
Burroughs wrote it while living in Tangiers, in a one-room apartment above a male whorehouse, strung out on smack and male prostitutes.
I’ve decided to go the next school board meeting and demand that they put these on high school reading list.
Naked Lunch must be made part of the new “Common Core.”
We finally moved when I was in high school. *sigh of relief*
Were you hoping for the happy ending?
Not. So. Fast.
Back in those days, if you were “bright,” you got “skipped.”
The misguided educators actually put you a grade ahead with kids a year older, forgetting about social, emotional, psychological and physical (especially physical) development.
I also have an end of the year birthday, so I was almost 2 years younger than most kids in my grade.
Get the picture? No more scary gangsta projects.
Instead, we’re talking TRAINING BRA in the GYM LOCKER ROOM.
I think my pal Ghostface Killah did less damage to my psyche.
So, guess what I did to heal all those psychic hits on my ego?
Yep. I read.
Alongside Holden Caulfield, I gave “phonies” the metaphorical finger.
I still do. Some things never change.
I found a new doppelgänger in Lorraine in The Pigman – zero self confidence, intense desire to write, compulsive pathological liar…
(Am I? There’s lots of speculation in the blog world on THAT one hehe).
I knew the loss and alienation of “Anonymous,” the 15-year-old author of Go Ask Alice.
SHIT GOT REAL WITH THIS BOOK, YO.
This book had been banned for its graphic depiction of homelessness, prostitution, rape, and a stint in a mental institution,
everything this girl endures once she becomes addicted to drugs.
Her family finally rescues her.
And then…the Epilogue.
The frickin’ Epilogue (SPOILER ALERT) tells us that 3 weeks later, she’s found dead of a drug overdose at her parent’s home.
I was shattered.
The only chance you have of surviving the pain of being different is to find like minded souls- even if they only exist in books.
The true gift is this – reading will raise your consciousness.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of letting society determine your values.
No one wants to be the one who doesn’t fit in.
I know – hell, I live that shit.
So, you can do/look/be/act like everyone else.
Or you can RAISE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS.
And possibly make a difference in this world.
You can expand your mind, one book at a time.
Luckily for me, I shed the nerdy cocoon in college. Or maybe, it was just cool to be nerdy.
Either way – in college, I really hit my stride and began my outward development into the deeply hip woman you now see before you.
Just remember – I created her.
One book at a time.
Oh, right! The virginity thing.
I promised if you stuck around, I’d get into it at the end.
I lied, perverts.
Go read a book.
Were you a nerd, or a cool kid? Did you “fit in?”
What were your favorite books when you were growing up?
Talk to me. I’m listening.