Lessons from Dr. Suess

By V. Jolene Miller

I love Dr. Seuss’s works. His enjoyable mix of poetry, short stories, and fantasy worlds are a delight. There’s the fact that he makes up words – an activity that I believe all writers are entitled to participate in. Plus, his writing alluded to what I can only imagine as his somewhat quirky style.

Recently, while mowing the lawn, I reflected on the Dr. Seuss classic, Green Eggs, and Ham. Although I’m not a fan of eggs (of any color) or ham, I thought about how Sam, after being persuaded to try this food, was so enamored with the delicacies that he was agreeable to eating them anywhere, everywhere, and with almost anyone.

In a house with a mouse. In the rain, on a train. In a boat, with a goat.

You get the idea.

It occurred to me that books and book enthusiasts are quite similar.

Consider the last few months and your reading selections. Where did you go? Which books did you read? Did you notice other readers? How frequently did you crane your neck just so in hopes that you’d catch a glimpse of the title they carried? Perhaps, you sent your friend or loved one on a random errand that required them to walk past that person carrying a book to bring back that coveted literary information: author, title, the picture on the cover?

During the last several weeks, I …

Read a counseling book on a plane.

And again, while lying out by a pool.

I read my dissertation manuscript at my desk,

In my chair, and thought about it while I washed my hair.

I read a novel in a chair.

I smiled as I read pages of poetry on slips of paper stacked right over there.

But, due to homework, I did not read every single book while going everywhere.

Okay, so I’m no Dr. Seuss, but you get the idea. Books are mobile! We can take them anywhere while they, ironically, take us on amazing adventures.

Yet, as I’ve carried my books to various places, I have also worked hard to immerse myself in my surroundings while letting my mind and imagination wander to faraway lands. (It hasn’t always been easy. It turns out I’m not great at relaxing.)

In Vegas, I leaned into a plastic pool chair and basked in the sensation of the hot June sun. I alternately cozied up to my husband on the plane and pressed my forehead into the new traveling pillow during reading breaks. And at home, my favorite place to read, I cuddled beneath my blanket and listened to my cat purr as I read the poetry my late mother-in-law wrote over the years.

I guess my point is, while you’re enjoying your next favorite read, don’t forget to stay grounded where you are. Don’t forget to connect with those around you and make new friends along the way. As I read my mother-in-law’s poetry, I was struck by just how much she and I had in common. We shared a love for words that inspire and empower others. We could have connected over a deep love for family. Unfortunately, we maintained separate writing lives and never bonded over our love for words.

Along the way, introduce your love of reading and words to the little ones in your life.

I recently had the immense pleasure of taking my granddaughter and her little brother to the library for the first time. It’s true; we read only half a book. However, we also colored at the arts & crafts table, put together puzzles, and completed a book cover scavenger hunt. The whole experience was pure joy.

Did I get to check out the new arrivals? No.

Did I have a free hand to carry a stack of books to the car? Hardly.

Did I leave wondering what the end of that storybook was all about? Yep.

Would I do it all again? Absolutely.

It’s about balance, connection, adventure, and sharing those things with your loved ones.

Take it from me … and Dr. Seuss.

V. Jolene Miller columnist

Reading on the Run

Binge reading on the run because everything else can wait.

About the Columnist

In Alaska, I’m a behavioral health instructor by day and a Ph.D. student by night. When I’m not teaching, I have my nose in a textbook or a scholarly article. These days, my writing is nonfiction and my puppy, Omar, is lucky if I can spare ten minutes to play fetch. I still carry a book in my purse because I hope to get a few minutes to read. Fifteen minutes before dawn, in between assignments, or right before falling into bed. Reading is my resting place.

Indie Debuts AugSept2022

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Article originally Published in the August / September 2022 Issue: Indie Debuts.

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