I wouldn’t say that school days were the happiest days of my life, I’d more likely day that I did survived them. School to me was something I had to do to continue on with my life - some kind of test, a survival of the fittest. English especially was a subject that everything in life seemed to require. The plan was to go to English classes, do enough homework and pass English; it was a necessity and never something to be enjoyed.
Through I life I have continued to read, my parents read to me as children, the stories of Narnia and Enid Blyton, I then read independently as I grew up, I fondly remember family trips to the library for Robyn Jarvis and Judy Bloom. But being forced to read seems to cause a blank in my mind, a stubborn reaction; if it had to be done, well I wouldn’t be enjoying it.
After formal education I seemed to have a need to prove to myself that I could master the skills that I never excelled at previously, so I started learning French. Strangely enough when I started to study French grammar I fired up an interest in English grammar; something I would have sworn to you was impossible. This in turn made me realise that writing can indeed be enjoyable rather than just a means to an end.
Understanding the ways I learn has been a real eye opener for me, it reveals ways in which my brain works and parts of my personality. In addition, learning to enjoy my own language has given me a great respect for writers.
So today when I discovered a challenge to read the classics I realised it was time to tackle an old school reading list, beginning with Homer’s Odyssey.