A friend of mine said that to me the other day, and I’m still not sure whether it made me more sad or more mad.  Definitely both at the same time.

Her mother told her that because she was old enough to read to herself, that there wasn’t time to spend or waste on reading to her anymore.  The catch?  She can’t read to herself.  She gets headaches, and vertigo, and nausea.  She’s been separated, segregated, denied the beauty and pleasure and joy of reading ever since that woman was too fucking callous to remember that girls and boys need stories even as they become women and men.

I can fix this.  I will fix this.  I will share stories with her, because she is my friend and I love her, and you share beauty with people you love, no matter how old they are.

You are never too old to be read to.  You are never too old to be storied or re-storied or hear things in a different way or from a different voice that has a different past or a different future or just a stranger or other path behind or in front of it.  Ask Neil Gaiman.  Ask Charles de Lint.  Ask Maya Angelou.  Ask Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Ask anyone who’s ever curled up somewhere warm with anyone else and been read to whether they’d like to do it again – no matter how old they are, no matter whether they “ought” to or not.

It is never a waste of time to share beautiful language with people you love.  It is never a waste of time for people to take time to say things to each other, and to create beautiful pictures in each other’s heads, because there’s a reason that doing things the long way is worth it.

Don’t fuck around, people.  Don’t disconnect.  There’s a reason that one of the first things we try to get babies to do is talk to us, say our names, connect with us – because we need those connections, we need them to see us, to hear us, to speak back to us.  Share language with each other.  Even if it’s someone else’s words, if you see beauty in those words, share them.  Take time to read them aloud, with love and excitement and joy, and bring love and excitement and joy to someone you care about.