I’m getting so into The Spark that I might finish it today (full review to come in April). It makes me think about how my parents, family, and friends have nurtured my passions (reading/writing). I remember the excitement I felt when my mom took me to the local library for the first time. We had just moved to Bolton and I was a shy, soft-spoken seven-year-old. I remember getting to sign my name on that flimsy, barely laminated yellow card. My very own library card. A card that represented my love of reading. A card that meant I could take out whatever book I wanted and keep it for a few weeks. My parents took me to the library as often as I needed to. As an added convenience the library was attached to the hockey arena so I would run in there every everytime my brother had a hockey game. I ALWAYS brought a book to my brother’s game (or wherever I went,really). For some odd reason the players needed to arrive a few hours before the game actually started, which meant I got to sit by myself, sip a hot chocolate, let my face numb from the cold, and float off into another world, another book. My parents never forced me to stop reading, as long as I was with them during the game, they let me be.
After I watched Matilda and read the book, my mom embraced my obsession with this girl. A girl who needed the written word to feel at home. A girl that I related to very much. She let me dress like Matilda and cut my hair like her, she even bought all sorts of ribbons to put in my hair. She still brought me to the library and let me watch Matilda on repeat.
When I started writing stories and poems of my own, my parents bought me countless notebooks and diaries, never forcing me to share them. When I felt confident enough to share my thoughts, they loved every single word I wrote. My dad and I would even come up with stories together and write ‘screenplays’ — we still brainstorm my future novels together but now it’s over a glass of wine as oppose to a glass of milk.
I don’t know if they saw a spark in me but they certainly allowed me to follow my passion. Sure, they made me do things that I HAD to do, like socialize and make friends, but they always let me carry a book with me. They always let me write or read whenever I was finished doing something I had to do.
“Jake had as much time to do things that were important to him as he had to do the things that were important to other people, to me, or to the school…He did have to get through the day, but he didn’t have to change who he was to do it” (The Spark Page 106).
My parents still encourage me. They ask about the books I’m reading, about the agent who rejected me, about the blog post I wrote, or about the novel I want to start working on. Their support has made a world of difference, it’s helped me believe in myself.
They were the spark.