I suppose a lot of people think their parents are the best in the whole world, but mine really were. It’s so obvious where I got my love for reading, my need/desire to make up stories and my ability to put them in a form that people enjoy reading.
My mother taught me my ABCs as soon as I learned to talk. I would sit on the floor with pencil and paper and put letters together and ask her if they were words. I remember putting C and T and A. She explained to me that AEIOU were vowels and they made the long sounds in the middle and sometimes at the beginning and ends of words. So at about age 3 I could read and by the time I started to school “See Dick run,” was boring to me.
I’d spend the summers at the library, where my mother worked and because she worked there, I could stay all day if I wanted. Also I could take out as many books as I wanted to. It seems to me there was a limit on number of books you could check out at a time. It was maybe 3 or 5? That would last me one or two days and then I’d go back. So I remember walking out of the library with an armful of 12-20 books, depending on how thick they were–a week’s worth anyway.
One summer, maybe when I was twelve or so, I decided to start in the A’s of fiction and go through the shelves and read the books that sounded interesting to me. Guess what I found??? Isaac Asimov! It was love at first page!!! I read every Asimov that our hometown library had, then went searching for other Science Fiction authors. I found Heinlein, Bradbury, Clarke, George R. R. Martin, all the old classic and ‘pulp’ SF writers. It was heaven to me. Reading these authors also introduced me to short stories. The genre of SF lent itself to anthologies. I discovered that short stories were my favorite form of fiction. And of course SF has produced the greatest short stories ever written. Asimov’s NIGHTFALL, Clarke’s THE STAR are in the top five, if not the top two.
Not only did I have the world of the library to explore because of my mother, I was surrounded with heroes!