This art? It’s by Wendy MacNaughton.
Reading is escape. A way to get out of your environment and into your imagination. Did you just find out that the girl you liked doesn’t like you back? Or that your mother lost her job? Or that you’re moving to a new city, where you don’t know anyone? You can take a break from being you and, instead, become a whaler, a space cowgirl, or a father and son on a cross-country motorcycle trip. Reading is a way to leave the real moment for a better moment, if only for a little while.
I felt the same way about driving when I was a teenager. To get in a car was to head somewhere new, to leave, if only for a little while. A good book and a good car are similar in that way: they can get you where you need to go. Even if the destination is nothing more than “not here.”
But before you can drive, and before you know how to use a book, you have to be taught—parents, siblings, a valiant corps of fearless teachers. Someone takes you to a parking lot and teaches you how to turn the wheel. To turn the page. How to push down on the clutch and find a favorite author. When to use your emergency break and when to counter-steer and what science fiction is and when to stop reading a book that’s too frightening. (Not that the latter has ever happened to me.)
And if reading is similar to driving, then learning that you, yourself, can make stories, that you, yourself, can write a tale, is like lifting up the hood of your car for the first time. That moment when you realize that your car is a machine, something that was built, and if someone can build this machine, then you could build one of your own. You too can construct, can know the ins and outs of an engine headed elsewhere. But this, this construction, just like everything else, has to be taught: the importance of trusting yourself.
That’s what I love about 826 Valencia and all of its volunteers and all of the incredible teachers who work with the center. They are driving instructors and wizened old mechanics, mentors who are happy to start by showing you how to change your oil, how to replace parts and then how to build your own. How to put together an engine. 826 Valencia is a garage for words, open to the public, with willing hands ready to teach these young apprentices how to create and maintain vehicles of their own.
And, with this book these young writers have not just constructed an automobile, they have built the finest of American hot rods. They have busted out transmissions and added pistons. They have labored, with wrenches, oil, and paragraphs. With visions of scary spiders and carburetors and ”Corruption of the Superhuman World.” They have wiped brake fluid from their foreheads and pulled stories of home and ghosts from their hearts.
So here it is. The machine they’ve built out of “Small Town Loves” and “Amazing Parakeets” and “The Magnetic Pull of the Earth” and “An Average Dirt Bike” and “The Legendary Human Sword of Memory.” And they are handing you the keys. Turn the page. Start the ignition. Point your machine at the horizon and push the pedal towards the floor. The gears will click and the gas will combust and you will find yourself transported from where you are to where you never knew you wanted to be.
- organic-bamford likes this
- constrution-bamford reblogged this from 826valencia
- kellymce reblogged this from therumpus
- courtneystanley likes this
- yulgold reblogged this from therumpus
- yulgold likes this
- davepress reblogged this from 826valencia
- harperbooks likes this
- the-hurricane-k-reigns-here likes this
- tornbread likes this
- davepress likes this
- mcs3000 likes this
- sunraystingray likes this
- sheisthefracturedonesewn likes this
- notforanyone reblogged this from 826valencia and added:
- shouldhavethoughtthisthrough reblogged this from 826valencia
- iamalexanderblack likes this
- ntljk reblogged this from 826valencia
- mllehazelwood likes this
- sarahwuh reblogged this from therumpus
- shorterexcerpts likes this
- annaverity reblogged this from therumpus
- this-extra-life likes this
- labaedeker likes this
- mollitudo likes this
- therumpus reblogged this from 826valencia
- wendymacnaughton likes this
- 826valencia posted this