Fact about me number 3: I love to read.
I’ve always enjoyed reading; my earliest memory of reading was when I was about five years old. Every week at school we would have a mini-private lesson with the reading teacher; leaving the class and going for a reading session with her was always great fun. You’d read aloud a few pages of the story you were currently on and she helped you improve. Along with your story book you would have a log book; your teacher would write a comment about your reading to your parents, tell them what page you were on and what page you had to read to at home. I would then show that to my parents and they would write a comment back saying what page I had got to at home. We were allocated a few pages reading homework a week, having to read up to a certain point and no further. But there was one problem;
I didn’t like having to stop reading after a few pages.
So I wouldn’t. They were short stories and I wanted to find out what happened at the end; the teachers didn’t like this. The books were borrowed from school and I wasn’t exactly the best reader in the class, someone was always on a set of stories above mine, and I didn’t like that, I wanted to be better. I didn’t understand why my books weren’t ever chosen from the ‘hard’ set of books; it wasn’t as if I hadn’t read enough.
The evenings I remember the best were those when I would sit with my dad and he would read me the ‘Narnia Chronicles’ from my brother’s box set. I don’t remember the stories much; there was an evil witch and warm coats in a cupboard but that’s all I can recall. I would stare at the words on the page that dad brought alive with such ease and I wondered, if and when I would ever be able to read and understand those types of stories all by myself.
I’ve always had a passion for fiction; it was a way to get lost in someone else’s world. I could live a hundred different lives, pick what type of life I wanted to have, did I want to be a wizard? An actor? I could choose.
My favourite book of all time however has to be ‘The Water Babies’ by Charles Kingsley. I loved the idea of slipping into the river and being able to breathe underwater, without the necessity of coming up to the surface for air, Tom becomes a water baby and can breathe underwater with the ease of a fish. Underwater for hours, his mother feared that he had drowned, but he found a fairy world beneath the surface.
I’ve only ever read this book once, a long time ago, before I knew about scuba. But I remember loving it to bits, it was well written, almost as if the narrator of the story was talking to the reader, asking you questions, telling you the tale.
Although I still enjoy fiction I am increasingly taking a liking to non-fiction; a certain type of non-fiction:
The diving type.
I out right refuse, however, to read fictional books on diving. There is no point, after so many adventures have happened to people on dives of their own; you can learn so much from a diver who has been there and done that. I would rather read a book detailing real scenarios a diver went through rather than one an author invented themselves.
I have just started reading ‘The Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing’ it’s an interesting read although they aim at travel writers who want to become published and paid for what they do. It’s also very vague in certain aspects because they aim at all types of travel writers with all sorts of subject matter. However it is beautifully written, the detail the author includes is amazing, my favourite line so far being ‘There you are, lying on a chaise longue on a white-sand beach by an aquamarine ocean, describing how the palm trees rustle in the salt tinged breeze’.
What I really like about the book is how they include exercises for you to try out what the author has just taught you. The first exercise attempting to find the right subject matter for you. Here are the questions and my answers to them. Try to work out what my right subject matter is, I warn you, it’s a tricky one;
‘What are your travel passions? Learning about culture, history and the country I am visiting, diving.
Think about your three most recent trips. What were common in all three? Water, diving or other water sports.
What are the things you seek out when you travel, the experiences that really move you? Why? Making new friends, meeting new people, always learning, and having hands on experience.
Make a list of three things you love to do. Consider each of these. Why do you love it and what have you learned by doing it? 1. Scuba 2. Rock Climbing 3. Scuba. Learned all about pressure, its effects on the body, partial pressure, trim, buoyancy. I have learned that with friends I trust I can put aside my fear, and try something new. That there are people in life who will lend you a hand and help you achieve your potential.
Could this be the nucleus of a story?
No I don’t think it could, there’s too much content for just one story… There’s enough, however, for a regular blog on diving. Ideas come and go; I’m learning, writing and hopefully sharing with you something about my passion. Diving is the right subject matter for me 🙂