“Not that hobbits would ever acquire quite the Elvish appetite for music and poetry and tales. They seem to like them as much as food, or more” – Tolkien
Books. The very reason I can stand here today and say the circumstances of my life did not (completely) drive me insane. In this respect, I suppose I’m more like an elf than a hobbit. I can devour page after page and still be ravenous for more. Each word an elixir for my soul, filling in the broken pieces with warmth and light. As a child, I needed that warmth and light more than I needed air.
I was no more than 4 when the first sting of rejection pierced my heart. My mother left my father and took my little brother with her, but left me behind. She’d run from the tyranny that my father had imposed upon our household. He was abusive, both physically and emotionally. My mother, a child herself at 19, did the only thing she could, she ran. I didn’t resent her for running away. Leaving me behind, that’s a whole other story all together.
I found solace from my living nightmare within the pages of R.L. Stine. Goosebumps was my favorite collection of books. I’d endured years of “love” at my fathers’ hand when I picked up Stay Out of the Basement. I was used to there only being darkness after an episode of his cruel shows of affections. I was unprepared for the triumph of the young heroes in Stine’s tales of horror. There were no monsters the children couldn’t defeat. I’d spend hours upon hours experiencing the terror, then triumph alongside the protagonists. Over and over again, it gave me hope when my own story was threatening to crush the soul of its hero. Me.
Over the years my hunger only grew. Every book I picked up made up my very essence. I could feel the books cushioning the blows my fathers’ words and fists would land. I’d be afraid walking home from school, wondering what kind of mood my father would be in. There were days I spent hours in the local library, trying to get away. Trying to pretend that I was a normal child, living a normal life, even if it was just for a few hours. Books were my only escape. They continue to be an integral part of my life now, even if I may not need them as much as I used to.
Being here and now, I want so badly to be an escape for others. If I could help even a single person forget where they are and what they’re going through, even for a moment, it would feel like it all had a purpose. I’ve decided to have a go at it. I’m going to try and write a novel. A story that will transport my hypothetical readers somewhere new and exciting. Making the decision to finally try and achieve my dream is just a part of embracing what I went through and making something good come of it.
Are you a writer? An avid reader? Why? What inspired you to write? What made you continue to pick up book after book after book? Was it a favorite author? A line that made you close your eyes and clutch the book to your chest? Tell me, I want to know what drives the reader to continue reading and what drives some crazy ones to try and write something of their own.