Cotter's first paragraph hooked me: "I've been writing about art professionally for more than 30 years, and I fell in love with language before I fell in love with art. Words ended up being my connection to art, and writing came first."
Fell in love with language...! Be still my heart. I fell in love with language as well. When was that? When books were read to me as a child and I began to memorize the lines, asking for the same book over and over so I could hear that linguistic music again and again? Or was it when I listened to debaters in my freshman year of high school and learned the power of putting words together persuasively?
Or was it when I began to study French and even when I didn't know the meaning of the words, found listening to someone speak francais was like listening to a special new sound with the rise and fall of beautiful music?
I could go on...but better to read Cotter's piece for yourself and see if your childhood was as blessed as his: his family read books and talked about them. And when Cotter was 9, they let him wander through the Metropolitan Museum by himself, taking in the wealth of experience chronicled in the paintings on the walls. He moved his allegiance from art to books but the look fo the love of language never left him.
I guess my own love of books started in the little public library in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. I loved the smell of the place as much as the books themselves. I can remember the agony of choosing which of six or seven books I could take home, since the weight of them all prevented me from taking even larger stacks. It was Heaven.
Here is Cotter's piece.