08/26/2014 by diaryofamissionarykid
Hey guys! So this time I’m going to share a bit more about myself. You already know I’m a crazyMK, so this is a little more of a more serious side of myself; a little bit about my passion for reading and where that came from. Hope you enjoy!
Passions are like the ocean. You know what it is, but aren’t really sure where it began. Passions can be deeper than you’ve ever imagined, with depths that you still don’t fully understand. Books are my passion. True poetry in a sentence, or even a word, and all I ever wanted to do was create the same. Experience poetry. Not in the sense of stanzas, verse, rhythm, and rhyme, but more in the sense of flow and language, and clustering of words that made your heart swim.
“…flow and language, and clustering of words that made your heart swim.”
Age ten and the books of choice were Nancy Drew. I can’t tell you which book I read first, though I remember even at a young age organizing them in a row, their generic yellow spines and blue numbers sticking out just enough to easily grab. Nancy Drew herself was not really the interest, as much as the situations she found herself in. She went from car chases with Japanese mob bosses to roller coaster sabotaging, chocolate poisoning, canine allergy infused schizophrenic brunettes, who’s only goal in life was to “Take over the roller coaster chocolate factory empire, and rule the world!” My mother would often find me rereading my favorite Nancy Drew books with a flashlight under my covers, and quickly learned that taking my books away was the best punishment a parent could bestow upon a child. It seemed I could not get enough of the smart and pretty strawberry blonde mystery solver, who’s only flaw was that she tended to be annoyingly perfect.
Age thirteen and the beloved Nancy Drew’s were accompanied (though never replaced) by The Baby-Sitter’s Club Series. More my age, the heroines were nine early teens who babysat to earn money, but also learned valuable life lessons. Though not nearly as exciting as Nancy’s mysteries and wild adventures, the Club was more similar to a life I wished I had. A large group of friends (which I did not have), who were smart and witty (I was certainly NOT), and who had fun while living a normal American life (which was by far the farthest from the truth in my own life). They seemed a version of normal that I longed to have, and a plastic wonder-bread world, where people never locked their doors, and Halloween was fun and not a question of razor blades in your caramel apples.
Age fifteen and it was all about vampires. Twilight, House of Night, and even a dip into Vampire Academy were my unhealthy obsession up through half of my sixteenth year. The idea of the supernatural and odd seemed more interesting than a group of girls who babysat their siblings, or a girl who was nothing more than a glorified red head who happened to catch a lot of good breaks. By sixteen, interests had morphed into the odd, dangerous, unknown; delving into the minds of killers, psychopaths, and just plain crazies. Nothing was more interesting to me than the original works of the Brothers Grimm, and the original twists on classics like Cinderella and the Almond Tree. Fairytales had taken over now, though not the classic Disney stories, with singing Snow White, and curious Wendy, but rather came new loves for murderous genies and backstabbing princes. Where things were not as they seemed.
All the while I read and read, as my shelves expanded to house all my books. People started giving me boxes of books because they knew how much I loved to read. Like not entirely knowing where my fascination for books came, I don’t entirely know when it showed up on my shelf. It must have been there for a while before I noticed it; it was sandwiched between two other books that didn’t belong together either. I pulled them out to fix the error and found myself holding three books instead of two. She was thin with brown pages, and a white spine. Plain, but not boring by the title: “Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast”. I figured, it was a new twist on a fairytale, so why not read it? That book was where it began. I connected with Beauty, originally named Honor, and related to her as a person. Beauty was no Disney princess, but rather a stubborn and sometimes scared young woman, who took her fate in her own hands. Her pain was real, and so was her fear, curiosity, and ultimately love. This small little book, written by Robin McKinley, an author I did not know, became my new ocean. Books had meaning again. They weren’t just something to pass the time to keep me entertained, but instead had turned back into the joy and anticipation I had felt while reading Nancy Drew.
The second I started reading Beauty, I knew that this book would be different. I couldn’t stop reading, and even though my mother had long since stopped checking to see if I was asleep, I still crawled under my covers with a flashlight to keep reading. The love story between the Beast and Beauty was never gruesome (as I had come to enjoy with Brothers Grimm), and showed much more patience and lonely sorrow on the side of the Beast than what I had see in Disney’s version, with the Beast lashing out irrationally, and smashing everything in sight. There was also a quiet mystery to those residing in the castle. Disney’s talking teapots seemed childish and ridiculous compared to the invisible whispering wind that served it’s beastly master.
Though I am not one to easily forget myself, it took Robin McKinley’s book to realize how much of myself I had lost. I had begun to think of myself as a girl who’s only literature interest was if blood was spurting, or someone was dying every third chapter. But as I read, I found that not only was I enjoying the fairytale twist, but found that every word was not enough and when the final page was turned, I felt a loss. It wasn’t the first time I’d felt it, but I couldn’t remember from where until I glanced up and saw those generic yellow spines with blue numbers. Nancy Drew had made me feel happy; I felt like I was on a real adventure with her, living her life, and ultimately feeling like I knew Nancy Drew personally. I wish I had realized it sooner. What I thought was “awesome literature”, really only gave me nightmares. My loss was not knowing that books are supposed to give you dreams. Not simply dreams that fill your head while you sleep, but dreams that will follow you into the light, wisping around you like a soft wind. Reading became about the passion again; the flow of words had meaning again.
Passions are like the ocean. You know what it is, but aren’t really sure where it began. Passions can be deeper than you’ve ever imagined, with depths that you still don’t fully understand. Books are my passion. To be part of the poetry. The words on the page become more than just words, but actual waves and currents resting on pages of the sea; on the waves of a book. The best moment are those right before you take a deep breath, and dive. Because now you aren’t just reading, you’re floating.