I’m not a big fan of movies. It’s not something I say very often because I know how it sounds. I once said it to my writing teacher, and she looked at me as if I had two heads. What kind of person says that she asked me, and I didn’t really have a good answer for her back then. Or one I was willing to say out loud.
I have an answer now, though it may still not be a good one. I learned to read when I was very young, and even before that, I pretended I could read. My mom tells a story of how when I was two, I would hold the newspaper in my hand and study it as if I were reading–but it was upside down. Even then, I knew the world of words was for me, and I wanted in. I taught myself to read so by the time I was in grade school, I was reading with ease. It was my escapism, and I loved opening a book and being transported into another world. I could go anywhere and do anything without leaving my house, and I was all in from the moment I could put a sentence together.
I never wanted to go out and play–I would rather read a book. I read the dictionary in my spare time, and I tackled War and Peace when I was ten because it was the biggest book I could think of. I gave up after five hundred words because I couldn’t keep track of all the nicknames and who was doing what to whom, but I did give it a solid try. I read The Scarlet Letter around the same time, and even then I thought it was bullshit that Hester bore the brunt of the punishment for the ‘sin’ of committing adultery.
I read all the Little House on the Prairie books, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden (I loved mysteries, even then), and whatever else I could get my hands on. Some of it was age appropriate, but much of it was not. I loved Bridge to Terabithia, A Wrinkle in Time, Pippi Longstocking, and all the trashy teenage romances I could gobble up.
In contrast, Superman was the first movie I saw when I was about seven, and it gave me nightmares for months after I saw it. I saw and hated Star Wars when I was a kid, and I never really cared for the Star Trek movies. ET was OK, but not really my jam. I didn’t see many movies when I was a kid, and I was fine with it. I found movies to be limiting, to be honest. Books allowed my imagination to run wild, whereas movies dictated what I saw and heard. When I write, I don’t do much description at all, and I know it’s a shortcoming on my part, but it’s because I always skip long descriptions whenever I read. I’d rather imagine the visuals myself than be told in excruciating detail what I should be seeing. You can see why this would be an issue for me when I watch a movie.