Thoughts on Reading

Amazing, isn’t it? Awe-inspiring.

Marks, lines, dots on paper form words, meanings, emotions, dreams –

The writer takes the basic stuff of life,

and with carefully chosen words creates things dark or light,

that which inspires, that which challenges;

celebration, grief, fear, relief, joy, sorrow, combining at last into a unified whole.

So in life, our experiences – the basic stuff of life –

the dark, the light, the sorrow, the joy,

inspiration, challenge, celebration, grief, dream and memory

all build upon each other to one day form a unified whole.

It’s good, once in a while,

to pause and reflect

on all that has been written in our life story thus far –

and to give thanks.

© E.A. Stilborn, revised August, 2018

My honorary nephew ‘reading’ the first book I made for him

I wish I remembered learning to read. I’m fascinated by the process of how those marks and squiggles on paper become recognizable words in a child’s mind.

What I do remember is the forbidden cupboard in the corner of the classroom when I was in first grade. The readers (and likely other things) were stored in there, and we were NOT to open that cupboard. We were NOT to look at the readers that were still to come. Knowing that didn’t stop me from dragging a little wooden chair over to that cupboard at recess time, climbing up, and standing there reading to my heart’s content. I am forever grateful to my teacher for not enforcing the rules in that case.

From then on, I have spent many hours reading and re-reading, devouring books. For an only child growing up on a farm, books provided friendship, adventure, new ways of thinking – a world outside my own.

Look up from the book for the picture!

It was a natural step from reading so avidly to writing. I don’t think anything can approach my first attempt at verse (thankfully):

I hate measles,

They give me the sneezles.

I hate measles,

They give me the sneezles.

Looking back on it now, it seems rather repetitive, not to mention of questionable medical soundness. However, it was a start. I dabbled in writing from then on, trying various forms.

One night, years after that first attempt, my mother asked me a simple question over the phone. “Why don’t you write?” That got me on the path from dabbling to writing seriously. As with my gratitude to my first grade teacher for silently encouraging my reading, I am forever grateful to my mother for that one simple question that opened up the world of writing to me.

Give me a pen and a notebook and I’m good to go…

I was soon filling notebook after notebook with novels, and parts of novels, and ideas for novels (oh, the writer’s cramp that ensued before I got a computer!) as well as hymn texts, picture books, whatever caught my fancy. Now, although some of my hymn texts have been published, my chief focus is fiction, and I love it. I concentrate on middle grade and adult fiction, although the occasional picture book text grabs me from time to time. I am not yet published, but I’m working toward that goal.

One more page… one more chapter… one more book…

I’ve become active in the online writing community, as well, particularly in the kidlit (children’s books) world. With author, freelance editor, and educator Emma Walton Hamilton, I co-host the Children’s Book Hub Facebook Group. Membership is open to writers and illustrators of children’s books — aspiring, emerging, and published. We focus on posts that will help us hone our craft and learn more about the art of writing and illustrating for kids. Check us out!

You can find me on Facebook and Twitter at the following links:


Beth Stilborn Writes —

Elizabeth Starborn, Children’s Writer —


@BethStilborn —

I do freelance copy editing and proofreading, as well.