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Many writers I most love were avid readers as children or became so at some point in their lives. For me as a child, reading was my central refuge and bliss. It remains so. At a certain point after tasting the salt and tang of poetry and story on my tongue and letting them slip into my body, I wanted in my own way to emulate what I so much admired. So I started scribbling down poems at about the age of six. I remember writing one about ghosts in grade four which my mother kindly preserved for me. My path to writing began with nursery rhymes and fairy tales. My friend J.S. Porter recently pointed out that this was the case with the Romantic poet S.T. Coleridge as well. “That’s how he habituated his mind to the vast,” John wrote.
Once, when I was too young to read university-level books, my parents visited a large university library where they had met. I recall hauling a dense tome off a shelf, setting myself up at a table with the adults, pretending to read seri…