I think for a lot of us, we think “Uh, duh. Of course.”
It would take the rest of my life probably to count how many times reading has helped me throughout my life, but I can definitely recall the major difficulties. And without fail, I always resorted to books and not just any books but those that could shed light, give me insight, and make me feel not so alone in whatever troubled me at the time.
Both reading and writing have always been a part of me since the days I first knew how to string letters into words and could also sound out the words others had arranged for my viewing pleasure.
I was a quiet, withdrawn child, but I poured my heart out in words and immersed myself into the pages of the books I ravished.
I still do to this day.
My childhood wasn’t the worst, but it also wasn’t the best. At the best of times, I’d lounge around the house or outdoors wearing my heart on my sleeve and daydream. Or relish book after book.
At the worst of times, I would essentially hug myself in attempt to close off the world around me and protect myself. I’d wrap my arms around my body and make myself as small as possible and retreat into the worlds of those books.
I imagine in the not so good times that if I had grown up with siblings, we would have huddled together in a fort of blankets while reading books by flashlight.
Reading helped me to escape the outside world… the drama… the noise. I realized early on that not only could I live in these awe-inspiring worlds of the books I read, but I could also live inside my own head. My little ol’ mind had the capacity to create! And not only did my brain thrive on it but from time to time, it desperately needed that escape. As a child, I daydreamed and made up worlds where I imagined myself living out scenarios ranging from the ordinary to the dramatic to the fantastical.
I still do to this day.
I don’t read though because I enjoy it. (Sometimes, I go for weeks without reading a book.) Although I do love it, I read because I feel like part of me is missing without it. A great part of me lies dormant without those words… those mysterious words that turn into fascinating stories after being swirled around and placed in the right order.
I am a reader.
The same goes for why I write. Without it, I don’t feel whole. And, I’m fascinated by the process of writing… the letters of the alphabet… made into words… made into paragraphs…. made into stories. Stories that can evoke any and every emotion in the reader.
I am a writer.
It’s the only way I know how to stay (somewhat) sane.
It’s the only way I know how to make sense of the world and to make sense of myself. Or to realize that really nothing makes sense whatsoever.
The stuffy corners of my mind are similar to climbing up some rickety stairs to a dark attic, stairs where you have to find the perfect balance between flying up them and going slow so as not to risk one step breaking beneath your feet. And with feet safely planted on the attic floor, pulling a string to a single lightbulb that as it swayed back and forth cast shadows looming in a frightful, ‘jump moment’ kind of way, But in brief glimpses amongst the cobwebs and dust particles swirling in the air, the light shows all sorts of old treasure filled with stories waiting to be told, waiting to escape and live their own lives.
It’s a leisurely afternoon.
It’s a brain de-clutterer.
It’s a cross I bear.
I don’t do it for the glory.
I don’t do it for the fame.
I definitely don’t do it for the money.
I don’t do it because it’s the romantic struggling artist thing to do.
I don’t do it to become a pretentious artiste. Fuck that. I’m no better than any other writer.
My reason for writing may be different than your reason for writing, and that’s lovely.
I write for the peace that washes over me after I have written even just a few words, the same feeling of serenity I felt as a child diving into a new book.
When I am writing, I am always alone but never lonely.