To celebrate International Literacy Day, I will…

When I turned 40 recently, I realized, with a bitter twinge in my brow, that my eye doctor had been right:

40 is the magic age when your vision immediately begins to deteriorate, and reading becomes problematic. I scrunch my forehead, doing that see-saw action between me and the pill bottle, wondering whose big (or rather, small) idea it was to print such tiny directions to the aged population who are likely to be reading said pill bottle…….Grrrr.

I haven’t had to deal with a vision problem since before I had laser eye surgery ten years ago. What a miracle that was! To wake up, able to see the alarm clock clearly, as if I’d fallen asleep with my contact lenses in. It was the most fantastic feeling in the world – losing a disability with the snap of a finger.

I liken my vision problem to the hindrance I must have felt at age 4, with my finger on the page, trying to decipher what those symbols meant. It is not a pleasant feeling, and I thank technology that I can merely put on a pair of glasses to understand those symbols again.

I salute those who are, right now, struggling to learn how to read, and those who know how to read but are struggling to pay the bills and cannot afford to buy a book for themselves or their children. Wouldn't it be wonderful to snap our fingers and eradicate illiteracy and lack of access, with the same speed we can put on a pair of glasses to 'see'?

The Province of Nova Scotia has donated 3000 new books to Literacy Nova Scotia to distribute with their partner, Feed Nova Scotia, through food banks across the province this week. I will donate 5 copies of The Stowaways to add to the pile. If you are an author, and you have some copies of your books to sign and donate, I hope you can find a literacy organization in your area to do the same this week, or any week. You’ve probably already done it, and in that case… YAY!

Happy reading, everybody!!!

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