I started reading when it wasn’t cool to read. When kids were going to camp and playing spin the bottle, I was in my room flipping through pages of romance novels and astrology books. Instead of going to house parties I spent most of my days hanging out at the library. When I wasn’t allowed to go out I would immerse myself in stories and live vicariously through them; there was no limit to my imagination, one day I was a vampire, the next a detective. I was an odd kid, I would take notes while watching alien documentaries on the discovery channel and attempt to contact them using telepathy. Until nearly failing grade 11 physics I was dead set on becoming an astronomer, but my dreams of ever going into space or contacting other life forms quickly evaporated when I realized that my brain could not process numbers.Words, however, came effortlessly.
I spent most of my teen years as a prospering poet, writing hundreds and hundreds of poems only to lose them to unreliable technology. I wept for weeks. There was something organic about the innocent sentences I had put together because they were so much a part of who I was. I stopped writing poetry once I graduated high school, but I continued to read. I introduced myself to non fiction, a world I was not too familiar with but where I found myself developing a unique perspective. Not too long after that I began to write again, but this time my words were real. I was no longer using over-dramatic imagery to describe my heartache. I discovered humor and wit and a sense of confidence that made people relate to my experiences in a way that I could never have predicted. Suddenly, I had a fan club, my life was interesting, and my words were affecting the way people think, feel and view the world.
Today I take days off work and cancel plans to read books and write blogs. Some people are intimidated by blank screens and white canvases but it is truly the only place I have the opportunity to be myself. Somewhere between my childhood dreams and the real world I found a sanctuary that translates my thoughts into words, and my words into images that have the power to be reborn in the mind of my readers. Most of the things people experienced in their teens I only began to experience in my twenties (spin the bottle is not all that it’s cracked up to be). But there is a certain irony in that, because I never felt as though I missed out on anything. Because I got to travel the world. I was a philosopher, a psychologist, a ballerina. I fell in love and broke hearts and got to know more people than most people do their whole lives. If I can give a small part of my experiences back through my own writing than missing out on house parties and sleep-overs and first kisses are not really things to dwell on. Besides, the parties have definitely improved and books always make for great small talk.