I love to read. I love words and the endless combinations writers can employ to engage me, the Reader. For as long as I can remember I have read. The first book I can remember reading was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Rapt, holding my breath – I followed every step of Charlie Bucket’s journey, rapidly turning each page. Consumed whole by the story, I felt that I was Charlie Bucket.
I wished for days, months, years after that – that I would find that Golden Ticket and be transported to a land of chocolate waterfalls and square sweets that looked round. Even now when I open a chocolate bar – my inner child recalls the memory of that book.
My home life was difficult and in the pages of each book I read I found new and different worlds I could escape too. I was one of the Famous Five, travelling to Kirren Island. I joined Mrs Frisby Mouse on her encounters with the Rats of NIMH as she looked for a solution to save first her poorly child and then the Rats themselves. I crept through dark passages with Bilbo Baggins, endlessly transcribing the runes and writing my own secret messages. I suffered terribly with Katy when she fell off her swing – and marvelled at her resilience and how she just kept on going. I wept with Anne when she first arrived at Green Gables, identifying with just how out of place and unsure of herself she was. Every book and the characters in it became my friends and guides.
In the pages of those books I found me. Looking back I can see how those characters helped to shape my own. There are reoccurring themes of resilience in the face of adversity and difficulty. That you as an individual are responsible for the outcome of your own life – no matter what obstacles you might face. But also, the recognition, as in the story of Charlie Bucket – that when an opportunity comes along, you have to grab it with both hands- because you never know where it will take you.