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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: I Get Around
By Eleanor Joyce


Recently I spent a few days hanging out with the Grogan family at their Palm Beach, Florida home. I laughed out loud as their toddler, Patrick, pushed Cheerios around the tray of his high chair, while Marley, the yellow lab, snagged as many as he could with his tongue.

Last night, for several minutes, I enjoyed the cadence of thumping hooves, and savored deep breaths of moist, earth-smelling air as a young woman rode her horse across the fields towards home. The vision of a fiery sun, slowly sinking behind a rustic barn, was a beautiful end to my day.

Just a few weeks ago I walked the rainy streets of Oxford, England with Jack Lewis. For many evenings the barriers of distance and time were swept away by a well written book!

What is it about reading that is so captivating? Reading draws me in, immersing me in the setting and including me in the action. What sets reading apart from, say, watching a travel documentary? I enjoy the movie, but remain an observer rather than a participant. Perhaps it has something to do with sensory integration. Maybe as my eyes track from left to right, top to bottom, some finely tuned but little understood process is set into motion. I donít know, and Iíll leave the hypothesizing to the experts!

Suffice it to say that reading has been my travel method of choice for several decades. Real life adventures in faraway places have been thwarted by a finite budget, and of course, by the sheer impossibility of traveling through time. Reading is restricted by no such boundaries!

Over the years, Iíve had some excellent travel agents. My current favorite is the aging and somewhat eccentric owner of a nearby used book store. The ďstoreĒ is in fact a shabby but still stately tall brick house. Inside it is lined with shelves, most stacked two layers deep and two layers high with books of every description. Itís also home to several rescued cats. More than once Iíve had to swoosh a reluctant feline out of the bathroom sink to wash my hands, or slide one off a stack of books that I wanted to look through. Armed with a pocketful of tissues and fortified by an allergy pill, I visit this agent as often as I can. Of course, online agents are always convenient, and fun to visit too!

In real life, piloting a used minivan to the grocery store is about as exotic as my travel gets. But when I don my bifocals and pick up something to read thereís no stopping me! Thatís when I get around!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Graham02/01/07
What a great article! Books can take us to many faraway and exotic places, and referring to the bookstore owner as a "travel agent" was an excellent metaphor. It made me think of our small town bookstore, also home to a couple of rescued animals. As Hemingway said, "One cat leads to another." The same can be said of books. Keep reading and keep writing! Good job!
Jan Ackerson 02/02/07
Nicely written--an experience that all devout readers share, and expressed well and with originality.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/02/07
I loved this exotic tour of the world through the eyes of a bifocaled writer! It made sense to me, something I hadn't thought of before - about the difference between a documentary on TV and delving into a book having to use your five senses. Very, very good! And writing was super...
Jacquelyn Horne02/03/07
Enjoyed the concept here. I too liked it when you refered to reading as a place to participate and not just to observe.
cindy yarger02/07/07
I'm with you - there's just something about reading a good book... I also visit a bookstore like you describe everytime we pass through Montana!