• Gettin' Literate
Gettin' Literate
Written by
November 2019
Written by
November 2019

Some part of me, I suppose, wants to be literate…that being according to the way educators have defined it, except enjoying what many literates view as sophisticated literature has been my nemesis since the day I started reading.

While I managed to read Shakespeare, who I viewed the supreme connoisseur of literature… obviously a requirement to passing high-school English, it was by no stroke of genius that I had done so. I was so irked, and this is putting it mildly, about not only having to read him, but being graded on what he meant. The man was nowhere around to verify whether we, or the teacher for that matter, was on point. But I tore into the text anyway, the way I imagined the connoisseur had done the day he wrote his first draft. Well, lo and behold if the teacher didn’t think my thoughts brilliant. Ha! No wonder Shakespeare’s work was noted to be received with many arched brows at the time he was writing.

At any rate, if I was asked how many of the classics I’ve read, as in denoting how literate I am, any one of the expressions in the caption is likely to be the emoticon that will show up on my face. Only a slim few classics I’ve read. And by read, I mean read from the first page to last. Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’, Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’, Vonnegut’s ‘Dead-Eyed Dick’, Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ …of which only two show up consistently on many classic lists. None-the-less, those tomes were fluid reads, given how I’ll close a book in a minute if it’s not suiting my mood. While I champion educators in their vision to cultivate a literate society, I hold steadfast to the position that reading should not be a chore.

Now, I went through all those emotions just to share one of my greatest literary confessions.

Ok, so I tremendously admired Toni Morrison. I love her quotes. And when coming across one of her books, I bought them without hesitation, even if I only peeked inside before placing the book on one of my jammed-packed to-read shelves. I was like, I’m going to have to schedule time to read her, something like I did before reading Ghandi, and Mandela, and two other books I long to read but still haven’t... Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ and Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’. I mean, you can hardly call yourself well read but not have read these greats.

It, therefore, is with great pleasure that I FINALLY read ‘The Bluest Eye’. Oh, my, goodness! I won’t drivel on, taking whosever hanging on this long through the rest of my emotions describing how thoroughly I enjoyed the writing in that story. This may very well be the best piece of literature I’ve ever read. What a great writing inspiration. Sincerely.

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  • RYCJ Revising

    Thank you, Shaylen!

  • Shaylen Cornwall

    Here, here! I think it's so easy to feel like fraud if we claim to be writer's but haven't read every.single. gem out there. But just keep plugging along sister.
    P.S. your comment about your "books-to-read" shelf made me smile because I have a few of those shelves myself...:)