Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sandra Beasley, On Reading

"As a child, there was a year when my brain stopped processing the images from one of my eyes; I was reduced to monovision. The cause? My opthamologist figured out that I had been trying to read past the point of exhaustion every night--first shutting one eye, then the other, resting each eye for 10 pages at a time. They took away my flashlight.

Another time my mother came into my bedroom and discovered graphite marks on the ceiling. Why? I'd been hopping up and down on the mattress, using the point of a pencil to attach a piece of scotch tape to the ceiling. Why the tape? It was supposed to secure a long piece of yarn. Why the yarn? So I could suspend the paperback I was reading over my face. My arms were tired from holding up the book, but I was determined to find out how the story ended.

Reading isn't easy on either spine--that of the book or that of the reader. I sprawl on my belly and prop my chin on my fist. I sit back against pillows. Then I shift the pillows and try again. I lay on my side and lean my cheek to my palm. I turn the pages. I take the papercuts. I love reading, and I've got the aches and pains to prove it. Reading is my only full-contact sport."

{Sandra Beasley is the author of three books, including Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown) and I Was the Jukebox: Poems (W.W. Norton). Visit her website here for more information.}


  1. This is the most painful reading experience I've ever heard of.

  2. Thanks so much! And thanks to Shome for including me in the series.