“I declare after all there is no employment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
There is something that happens to a person when they open a good book; when they become so enthralled in a narrative that it seems to captivate a piece of their soul. There is something that happens to me when I start a new piece of literature. It’s as if I become a part of the story, and my heart becomes so completely invested in this alternate life. There is nothing I enjoy as thoroughly as I do reading. Being an avid reader, I feel like I’ve already lived a hundred lives.
Stephen King once said that “books are uniquely portable magic”, and often I feel like there were never truer words spoken lol! Books have the uncanny ability to transport you to completely new dimensions every single time.
When I start reading a new book, it’s almost impossible to put it down, and anybody who is around me long enough will testify to that. It gets so bad sometimes that I have to restrict myself from starting a novel at night because I may not get any sleep at all during that night. Every time I read a new book I feel like I can identify with the hero/heroine as if I were the muse for the piece of writing, myself.
Whilst reading I have felt almost every emotion under the sun: I’ve felt sorrow at death, I’ve felt excitement for possibilities, I’ve been nervous at what would happen next, I’ve been angry at stupid decisions and betrayal, I’ve felt heartbroken at love lost, I’ve felt immensely happy at love gained, I’ve fallen in love under the soft glow of my scented candles and wrapped around Christopher (my pillow…literally), I’ve cried and screamed and laughed and sighed… And I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.
When I was younger I started reading as a means of escape. I wanted to escape the boredom of mundane life, to escape the torture of being the middle child, escape the pressure to be great at everything, escape…life! And through that need to escape, to fly away for just a moment to a place where nothing could touch me, I landed.
As I got older I realized that reading was one of my greatest therapies. It filled voids of lonesomeness, like a friend coming home after a long time, every time my fingers rustled the pages of some great literature. So much of what I’ve learnt about myself, about life and the world, I’ve learnt between the pages of a book…now that gives a great meaning to reading between the lines.
Paul Auster put it best, “Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.”
It’s unfortunate though that almost every good thing, if misused and misappropriated can have a bad side too.
We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “what you put in is what you get out.” Well, I know all too well what that means. Literature provided escape, solace and comfort for me, and there is no problem with that, we should all have something like that. It becomes a problem though when you much rather live in an alternate world than your own reality. The books that I read taught me to love life but it also gave me a distorted perception of love.
Romance is my favourite genre of literature…no surprise there since I am in love with love. For a while though, I was more in love with the idea of love than the dedication it takes to make love work. When I lived in Texas, I would dress up to go to Wal-Mart because I had this fantasy of being swept of my feet by some handsome stranger who would inevitably become my Prince Charming, and there is nothing more amazing than a romance that starts out as an unassuming perusal of the grocery store aisle.
We have to be so mindful of the things that we feed into our spirits; the books we read, the music we listen to, the movies we watch and even the conversations we entertain because little by little, slowly and so unassuming, we start to take on facets of those things and they play a big role in molding the people we will become.
For as long as I’ve known myself I’ve always wanted the epic romance, the Cinderella ending, and there is nothing wrong with that per say, but it twisted my perspective and when love finally crossed my path I almost missed it completely because it didn’t come in the package that I was expecting it to.
Sometimes the things we feed our minds, though stimulating for a time have the potential to blind us from the things that God wants for us because we become too focused on the things we want. Don’t be such a boss over your life that not even God is allowed to change your plans.