UR WELLREAD: How Reading Ruined Me
Written by Angelica
When I was younger, I started reading books with my father. Before long I was reading every chance I could — in the car on the way to school, in the hallways, at restaurants, home, events. My parents would threaten to take my books aways if I misbehaved. Trips to Barnes and Noble, my book store of choice, were hours long and full of discovery. My father would drop me off in the children’s section while he browsed the Sci-Fi aisles. I always knew where I could find him, and every minute he was gone was an adventure. I would open hundreds of books, devouring descriptions on the back of texts as though they were food itself. I would sit on the ground and become engrossed in stories of wonder and excitement. My life would become the book, and I would forget the world around me. Passerbys were nonexistent. I could be in the jungle or flying through the skies. Deep in the ocean or on a pirate ship on a quest for hidden treasure — I was never bored.
Soon enough my lap would be full of books I would carry over to my father and beg him to buy. I could rack up a book bill like my mother could rack up a shoe one. Forced to barter with my dad, my giant stack of books was often reduced to a few I absolutely needed. If I was lucky, I convinced him to let me have one more than he wanted me to. “We’ll be back soon enough,” my father would say — but soon enough was an eternity for me.
“She had always suffered from vague restlessness, a longing for adventure that she told herself severely was the result of reading too many novels when she was a small child.” -Robin McKinley
As time passed, reading about these epic journeys simply wasn’t good enough for me anymore. I didn’t want to read about these characters, I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to be the one swept away in the middle of the night off on some great adventure worthy of being written in novels. I grew antsy, and my life was too predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my family and my home — but I was ruined. Ruined by the stories I had long read, ruined by a father who told me I could do anything. An ordinary life was no longer in my cards. I craved the extraordinary.
So I began to travel. I began to plan my life not based on living where I felt comfortable, but on where I had yet to see. Some argue I am trying to live in a fantasy and trying to escape reality by living through the pages that I read. That I really am ruined and whimsical for wanting to create a life inspired by books that are merely stories. But I disagree. Because all stories come from somewhere deep in ourselves. In every story, there is a bit of possibility living within the impossible. And, most importantly, because I am the protagonist of my own story, instead of the audience.
Angelica is a writer currently living in Northern California. She was born and raised in Texas and has also lived in Maine and South Africa. Angelica has two degrees from Santa Clara University in English Lit and Business Marketing. When she is not writing, you can find her reading or eating ice cream, probably both. Follow her here: @anneerae and see her blog here: www.smilewithangelica.com