by Christina Marples – age 15
Famous authors may pretend to know how lucky they are, but do they really? Do they understand the desperate desires of others, like myself, who just want other people to read the words that were strung together so delicately by themselves? They can’t understand. Not anymore. Their ability to do that ended a long time ago. It ended that moment when a person walked into a bookshop and bought their book. That person was willing to read that author’s delicately strung together words and yet it is possible that the person who first bought the book did not appreciate just where that story came from. But one day someone did.
There’s always a little ‘bookworm’ amongst groups of people. There are the screaming three-year-olds with the one in the corner who could be seen reading an early edition of ‘Cinderella’. Or the boy-struck teenage girls with one who reads ‘The Lord of the Rings’ at slumber parties. It’s one of these odd ones who grew to notice books in a very different way.
The girl, of whom I speak, shall remain nameless for a name would be unnecessary. From a very young age the girl had loved stories. The number of places she could visit in her mind, when a story was read to her was what she loved. A Queen’s castle; a house that never existed; a meadow full of prancing ponies. The number of journeys she could experience when a story was read to her increased her love for them more. Through a wardrobe; flying on a broomstick or even meeting wolves. But all of these things, and more, increased when she read a story to herself.
And so the girl read. And she read…and she read. Her collections of children’s stories became somewhat amazingly close to the collections in large libraries and it wasn’t until the age of twelve that the girl’s love for ‘children’s stories’ started to cease. Thicker volumes began to appear on her bedroom shelves until they groaned under the weight. All of these were read several times until the pages were slightly frayed and the spines becoming detached. They were read at school, in the park or at any available opportunity or in any place that provided a place to sit.
Reading soon became one of the girl’s favorite things to do but, even after reading the hundreds of books she had done already, she felt there was something missing. She enjoyed them enough but still something was missing – still missing…
The girl entered her third year at High School and couldn’t help but give in to the spark that disturbed her mind about her future. All teachers talked about were future careers. What would she do? ‘Play to your strengths’…She had read that in a book. In fact, it was the very book that finally helped to explain that ‘missing something’.
Her mother had come home one day with a book. The girl had heard of it before but had never really considered reading it until she skimmed the first line, on the very first page. The words were so simple and yet the moment she had read them, something had awoken in the back of her mind. The story was by far the best she had ever read in her life and from those few words at the start right to the last line, she had been hooked. It was a genre she had had very brief encounters with but to this day, she doesn’t tend to read anything else – except fantasy stories. There was something about them that compelled her imagination and sent her plunging into the minds of the authors. The book her mother had come home with had been no exception.
She learned great many things from that book. It had taught her that there was an awful lot more to reading stories and it was at this point that she stopped to consider the writing. She lay in bed one night reading that book when she stopped and thought just how much effort the author had put into this story. Books came from inside people’s minds, didn’t they? So when you’re reading a book you must be…sort of reading a person’s thoughts and feelings. It was this idea that she clung to with every story that she ever read and she knew she’d never forget it and knew if it hadn’t been for that book her mother had brought home she would never have even thought of it.
The girl almost felt as if she wanted to thank the clever woman who had written that story (and the ones that followed). To thank her for helping the girl to understand the meaning of writing and why exactly people did it. She knew what her ambition would be. To write a book. To write her very own story that came from inside her own head and that other people everywhere would read.
So there was a person who understood the ‘delicately strung together words’ written by people all over the world and who knows, maybe there are others. However, the girl never forgot what she’d learned from books and I know this for a fact. I know this for a fact because the girl was me. One day you will read a book with my name on the front and you too can try and learn exactly what books are about – in exactly the same way I did.