books

A second chance in fiction

11:45:00 AM

For as long as I can remember, I have been a voracious reader. Like most other kids, I started with picture books and eventually graduated to storybooks. I read and re-read every single book my mother got me, and when I got tired of my small collection, I’d go to my friends’ houses to read their books. Each story had different characters, and I imagined that I am one of them. I believed I am a princess. I believed in magic.

When I started school, I ditched my storybooks and opted for encyclopedias and textbooks. Our educational system does not value imagination as it does knowledge, and for a while I believed that what you know is more important than what you can imagine. For my birthday, I asked for and got a set of Charlie Brown’s Encyclopedia. I devoured all fifteen volumes in a week.

Before the internet, books were the ultimate source of knowledge, and I valued every bit of information I can absorb. The more I knew, the smarter I felt, and the smarter I felt, the more confident I became. I stopped reading stories except those required for school, and I stuck with textbooks and encyclopedias. Magic no longer existed.
My imagination took a back seat, and my logical brain took center stage. Up until the second grade, I suppressed my inner child and I functioned like a typical adult – all I cared about was getting ready for the “real world” by stuffing my head with as much information it can hold. I wanted to be smart. I strived for good grades because my teachers told me I needed those for a better life.

As it turns out, I had everything wrong.

On my eighth birthday, my mother tried to commit suicide when she found out that my father was having an affair. I was far too young to understand why these things were happening. And I was too ashamed to talk to anyone about it, so I buried myself in books again. This time, though, I ditched the textbooks and encyclopedias.

Second world. second chance
I let myself re-discover fiction. I borrowed my older brother’s copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and I let myself believe in gods and in fate, in love and in magic. I read Nancy Drew novels from the library, and I found myself imagining mysteries to be solved. I devoured my mother’s John Grisham novels, and I pictured myself in a courtroom, putting bad guys in prison. I discovered Sidney Sheldon’s works and I imagined myself as a strong heroine seeking poetic justice.

Every story, poem, and novel opened my eyes to new things, cultures and characters. Each piece made me braver. Each book taught me to use my head differently – to defy logic and embrace the irrational, to believe in magic. Imagination is more important than knowledge, so said the great Albert Einstein, and he’s absolutely right.

Imagination healed me. My life has been better ever since I read Mythology for the first time, and it keeps getting better with each new book that I add to my list. Life is not just what’s here and now. It’s not your situation, no matter how good or bad things are. Life is what you imagine it to be.

isawisay

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Hello, reader! Thank you for wasting your time reading my blog. I do hope you enjoyed whatever you stumbled upon. :)