"First, thank you so much for your support yesterday. I was overwhelmed by your gratitude and messages of good will and am pleased to say that I feel much better today after my recent blood transfusion. I spent a large part of my day reading yesterday in the hospital and I decided to make that activity the focus of this morning's 'Thought for today.'
Reading is one of those few pleasures which is capable of temporarily taking you out of your world for a brief period and placing you in another. While I have been with many beautiful women in my life, none who didn't keep a book close by would ever interest me long enough to want to know her better. People who never read scare me with the scale of their loss. Just show me what you read and I'll tell you who you are.
Ever since I was laid up in hospital for nine straight months as a 12 year old boy, books entered my life and have always stayed in it. Reading gave me someplace to go at a time when I was compelled through injury to stay where I was in my hospital bed.
Through his character of Robin Hood in his book, 'The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire' penned in 1883 by the American writer, Howard Pyle, I first came across the concept of the possibility of being 'both thief and good man' before my twelfth year of life. Being a budding thief at the time, this book became instrumental in helping me not to write myself off as a sinner without redemption.
Next, came one of the books that was to probably influence my life more than any other, Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables.' When I became introduced to Hugo's hero character, Jean Valjean; the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread who later became an escaped convict and Mayor and the most respectable and honest citizen in his town, I knew that 'reformation' for all mankind was possible whatever one's past. It was most probably this story that led me to become a Probation Officer for over twenty five years in life's twist of poacher turn gamekeeper. I never deceived myself why I was a better than the average Probation Officer, despite not having a degree at the time. It was my background that made me a good Probation Officer and not my brain. I learned more quickly to help people because we came from the same side of the track. You see, in the Probation Service, staffed mostly from the university ranks of the middle classes, they were never 'clients' to me. We may have sat at opposite sides of the desk, but never once did they stop being 'my people.'
Another influential book which shaped my attitude and life ever since first turning its pages was 'The Power of Positive Thinking' by the minister and author from Ohio, Norman Vincent Peale who was to blend psychology, psychiatry and religion in a manner that I found highly applicable to my life, then and since.
When I think back upon the sixty five books I have had published since 1990 for children, teenagers and adults, my ideas have sprung mostly from the fragmentation of the many book characters I have read about while my inspiration, themes and story lines have been nought more than the scribblings of my own life experiences, both good and bad.
One of the most common questions I have been asked as an author is undoubtedly, 'I'd love to write a book, but if I did, what would I write about?' My answer has never varied or ever would: 'Write what you know best about; yourself and your own experiences.'
One of the best moments one can have reading is when you come across something; a description, thought, feeling, attitude, belief, a way of looking at things which previously you had considered special and partculiar to only you. It is as though we read to learn that we are not alone. Suddenly you find your most special and secret thoughts written down by another person whom you've never met. They may have even been dead centuries before you were born and yet it is as though yours and their thoughts have transcended time, place and purpose as their hand comes out of the past to firmly shake yours as a new friend found among the pages.
Welcome to the world of books, the land of wild imaginations and cradle of dreams." William Forde: January 7th, 2016.