Diving into an old passion
Hobbies are an interesting thing to consider lately. The prior eight years before my divorce I wouldn't of been able to say I had any. Before that, I knew I enjoyed reading and running. I also was big on journaling but all of those things had died off. It's been YEARS since I read a book for my own enjoyment.
Unexpectedly - this past Friday that's changed. Though I haven't read in years it didn't stop me from collecting books that I've been intending to read. Friday, in the monotony of another weekend beginning I yet again had forgotten to charge my phone during the work day. I soon realized I had nothing to mind-numbingly scroll through for the rest of the evening. On my counter was a book that my sister had purchased for me at her kid's school during the scholastic bookfair. A few years ago in one of my college classes that I had taken during a summer semester, was 'Children's Literature'. In the space of six very short weeks it became one of the best classes I'd ever experienced in college.
We had gone back to the very beginning as to how books and writing became a learning and development source for children as they grew. From the developing perception that children are not, in fact, just miniature adults -that only needed to learn from discipline. It became a source of understanding and was embraced to aid in a child's learning.
Through that course we explored the beginnings of the Newbery Award winning books and honors, along with the Caldecott and others.
Because this class had such a profound impact on me- I've began trying to collect the Newbery award winning and honor books. Though the Newbery is awarded for the most distinguished Children's book- I find that these books hold so much for adults as well. Concepts and perceptions that we perhaps have forgotten along the way.
The book that sat on my counter was one of these. A 2017 Newbery Honor book by Lauren Wolk, titled 'Wolf Hollow'.
I decided to open it up, telling myself I should use some self discipline and read at least one chapter while my phone charged.. It being the least I could do toward 'self care' that has grown increasingly more difficult.
Lately my attention span hasn't been all that great. So, being alone I decided I'd read out loud to try and keep my focus. I finished the first chapter which was more than I've read in a while. Fighting the slowed pace that I was currently experiencing, I went and switched my laundry as a quick break. I told myself my phone couldn't possibly be charged enough for me to binge tiktok on yet and decided to read another chapter to pass the time. Not the healthiest of mindsets, but still healthier than the consistent frame of mind I've found myself in.
I read a second chapter out-loud.. by the third I wanted to try reading as I always had before. Just in my head, I was curious to know if I could keep my focus still by doing so. I also wanted to find out more about the characters emerging in this book.. which is an interest I hadn't felt for a while. I was a little cautious, oddly nervous that I would lose my desire to read another page or paragraph as I went; ultimately confirming the negative self talk that seems to find me at different points during the day. That 'I can't commit to better self care because I'm too lazy to improve..' and even worse- that I am simply just not capable anymore of doing things that I'd enjoy.
As I read another chapter it became easier page by page to lose those concerns and found myself fully immerged in the story.
You might be thinking, 'okay, so what -you've read a book' but it really is the excitement I want to share and the following that I've learned.
Somewhere in the previous eight years I had grown to mute thoughts, passions, feelings, emotions... While reading this book I was carried carefully and kindly, through emotions and feelings that I naturally do not or have not allowed myself to feel -for years. Experiencing these emotions while reading was a huge journey. I felt pain, knowing it was acceptable. I felt love without anger. Knowing that though things weren't 'just' or 'right' but able to I feel a place of closure in that emotion, in those scenarios, that I didn't expect to feel. That I perhaps haven't felt yet fully in my present life and experiences. It allowed me to feel things and experience resolutions that I didn't know if I was capable of anymore. The entire experience was exhilarating and stirring.
I finished the entire book that night. On top of it all I realized I had done something that hadn't happened for me in years, I followed through on something that truly caught my interest and attention. I read an entire book. This since has felt like a huge accomplishment and step forward in learning who I am now and cultivating the person I am stabilizing.
Maybe that hobby of mine isn't lost, it's just been hidden. I am so excited that maybe I can continue this and possibly also find additional healing in this. So I'm going to give it another shot again without expectations. Taking what these books have to offer me as I go along.
More information on Newbery Award winning books:
This nominated book is awarded by the American Library Association each year- for a book elected within the previous year. This nomination was initially embraced and approved by the American Library Association in 1922. For a book to qualify in submission as a potential Newbery award winning book- the author must be a citizen or resident of the United States.
As the ALA website states - "Distinguished is defined as: Marked by eminence and distinction; noted for Significant achievement. Marked by excellence in quality. Marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence. Individually Distinct." Within their website information on the the criteria required for these books can be found. They explain how each book is reviewed by committee members who should keep in mind that 'the award is for literary quality and quality presentation for children (...) not for didactic content or popularity.' I'd recommend diving into the development of this award as you might find it equally as fascinating as I have: https://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newbery