I was that kid who always got A’s or B’s without so much as opening a book and skimming through the pages in less than a minute. Something inside of me was always restless. As much as I love books and more than anything, words, I couldn’t be bothered to sit through a textbook that read in about as boring a manner as a Catholic priest on Sunday mornings, droning on and on and on, about some epiphany he had sitting on his toilet in the wee hours of Sunday.
“I will stay awake for the whole sermon,” I promised my mother before service every weekend. She never answered, and I always understood it to mean that it didn’t matter. After she lost her sister a few years later, it really didn’t matter. We didn’t see the inside of a house of God till many suns had set and risen after laying the last bit of dirt over her cancer-crippled.
Textbooks were boring and I thought History in particular was boring. The Battles of Lexington and Concord kicked off the American Revolution, and I just couldn’t envision it because the writing seemed so dull. One of my History professors, a round fellow with a loose jowl and a vast forehead that housed an equally impressive mind, finally resurrected all those dead soldiers strewn about blood-soaked battlefields. His voice jolted the action out of the writing. It’s like that dream everyone has. You know the one. One moment you’re walking peacefully until something slips you up, and suddenly you’re the ground beneath you disappears and you find yourself falling into the abyss…
I understood true terror through his voice, especially during Holocaust week. My professor having had relatives that were victims of the Holocaust made it that much more real to me. I understood the importance of words and storytelling then. After I went home and looking at my Mother and feeling the power of all the rivers in the world rushing through my veins, up my face and down my cheeks.