A Soul on Paper
I remember when I was very young, taking a ream of paper and some magic markers into my den and devising stories. I would cover pages and pages of white paper with scribbles of color that formed princesses, palaces, horses, and wicked step-mothers. Then, quite carefully, using a building block as a ruler for straight lines, I would write the words. They were simple words, written in a child’s thick, uneven scrawl, but they captured my perspective of the world at the time. And today, when I look back at the stories that my parents saved, for a moment I am only six years old again, and the world looks just as it used to. I do not know for certain today why I felt compelled to write these stories, but it was probably due in part to the books my mother read me. Almost every night of my childhood I drifted to sleep with her soothing southern accent feeding my dreams with stories. To this day, after putting down a particularly satisfying book, a part of me longs to take a stack of paper and a pencil and write my own.
There is a room in my house that is full of books—the entire span of one wall is covered in shelves of literature on every subject imaginable. Old torn volumes with coffee-stained pages, and newly bound novels that still smell freshly of the bookstore and crack their spines when opened—all sit on the shelves bursting with words and ideas, waiting to be discovered. Each is a unique view into the world of the writer, and within its pages I discover perspectives I had never though about before. Two writers might write about the exact same thing, and leave me feeling two very different ways. To me, that is the beauty of literature—of words in general. They can be manipulated and strung together just so, such that for a split second everything looks exactly how the author saw it. And when authors are dead, their worlds are preserved forever in the pages of books, so that long after their existence others can still experience life through their eyes. That is what I find myself longing to do after putting down a book—I want to write a story so that people can know how I felt and saw things, and maybe be better for it. Sometimes it is almost painful, because I know that I have not gained enough life experience yet—anything I wrote would not speak fully of who I am, for even I have not discovered that yet. But my memories are preserved in little paragraphs and sentences I come up with now and then. They are sketches of my world, so that one day I can pull them all together, weaving them with words into my own story.
Literature fascinates me—no two writers ever see the world in the same way. To read a book is to understand someone else’s soul, and to expand my own. Only recently, upon finishing a book, I placed it down and thought for a while, knowing that what I had just read had somehow changed my world in intangible ways. I felt a surge of inspiration, to collect all my experiences and fold them together neatly between pages for someone else to discover. And I know that nothing would be more satisfying then to open a brand new book, hear the crack of the spine, smell the freshness of the pages, and see my own soul captured forever in dark black ink.
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