Finding Yourself Lost in a Book
By Quincy Wise
Have you ever found yourself lost in a book? I’ve bet you had, maybe you were the brave hero fighting to save the world, a beautiful heroine going on a wayward adventure discovering friends, foes, and love. But for a large majority of the world, this isn’t true. It’s not the fact they that they are extraterrestrials unable to comprehend human words or illiterates, but for a large population of literature includes the coming of age story. A story where the young adolescent protagonist grows and develops literally and metaphorically. They overcame internal and external obstacles and typically at the end they find love, heterosexual love. So here starts my story, a story of discomfort and anger, but with a resolution that opened my mind and heart to the wonders of literature. A story of downfalls and upheaval. A story where I found myself lost in a book.
My experience with literature started out in elementary school, simple books with no conflict in school. As I grew I fell in love with the bright images and rhymes schemes. Books such as “Miss Holly Is Too Jolly!” by Dan Gutman and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” By Dr.Seuss. As the books I read became or complex so did I. Conflicts, triumphs, resolutions, and love, the latter being the reason I could no longer love literature. The boy becomes men and got the girls of their dreams. But I didn’t want the girl, I wanted the guy. I detested that fact. What was wrong with me? Why am I not normal? Everyone does hate me! My teachers always said that the protagonist is someone you should be able to relate to, but I couldn’t, we were never alike. I started reading series such as Goosebumps and A Series of Unfortunate Events. These series of books did have conflicts and resolution but focused on horror and despair respectively. Reading Goosebumps I was able to get lost in the awe and panic of teens, my age facing horrifying monsters and chilling villains. While lost in A Series of Unfortunate Events I could see myself in the eloquent Baudelaire children outsmarting their devious captures and escaping unscathed. I could now finally say I was lost in a book.
My enjoyment of literature sadly declined from there, however. In middle school, I managed to read most of the Goosebumps books I could find and finished A Series of Unfortunate Events even the prologue and epilogue books. I was at an age where we could talk about “sensitive” content. Homosexuality was looked down upon either because of hate or confusion. I was amongst the confused, I wanted to curl up and disappear. I didn’t want to be the focus of attention. I stopped going to class, speaking, even lost the little friends I did have. I was “The Gay Boy”. Nobody ever talked about it and when they did I was the example. Reading books made it quite clear that I was odd, all the character were straight with heterosexual feelings towards each other, that small, simple, little detail is enough to pull you out the book, put it down, and close it forever.
My high school was right next to the Twin Towers when they fell and the library was destroyed, however, my freshman year they reopened it. It was very modern and bright with an assortment of new and interesting content. They had a whole section of LGBTQ books. I wish I could say that this alone allowed me to open my eyes and learned to love reading again but it’s not. To be honest, my teacher was that reason. Dr.King and her analytical review of mythological figures, Ms.Hinson and her social injustice motifs, Ms.Benn, and her metaphorical almost divine writings. Books didn’t always need a story, they didn’t always need love or even characters. I found myself reading not to find myself but to find information, knowledge. My favorite books became those based on the writings of great philosophers like Aristotle and Machiavelli, I surround myself with the Greek pantheon, I became enlightened by the Japanese yokai. I wanted to be just as powerful as Zeus, as Competent as Sigmund Freud, as cunning as the Baudelaire’s, brave as the Goosebumps protagonist.
My first year of college I didn’t read a single book except for one, The Holy Bible. I went to a religious private school, I wanted to see if there was a god, if he loves me, if I could love myself. Weary of my decision in revisited my high school to see my old English teacher.I asked her why are stories so sad? Why do there need to be love? Should we read the Bible in class? We spoke for an hour on the importance of conflicts and how love often includes conflicts both internal and external, how the ability is such an important piece of literature in the western world. Sadly, I took this with a grain of salt and transferred from that school at the end of the term. I learned all that I had, I learned to love myself so that I can love others, I learned that I was smart, trustworthy, kind, I learned that nothing could hold m back but me.
My Journey was long. I didn’t know where I would end up. Maybe some illiterate begging on the street, a drug addict begging for change, a convicted felon contemplating this on his deathbed. But somehow, I was good enough to make it to college, to get a job, make friends, love life love myself, love people, love literature. Now 19, my sophomore year of college writing this I hope that at least one, maybe two, dare I say three people might read this and feel the same, to feel encouraged to never give up. To never stop their journey to better understanding themselves and literature. I want students to realize their potential and lead in the light instead cower in the dark. I want students just as I did to be able to find themselves lost in a book.
(would like for another person to change While writing my narrative i decided to write in a chronological order. To m the narrative was recounting my experience with literature and to accomplish this i would need a beginning middle and end. I didn’t really have a first draft, I tend to write by writing down complete sentences that sound great then writing around those. From that I form paragraphs and revise. I personally think my narrative was okay, my experience with literature has been up and down but to accomplish my idea I had to purposely leave out times that i didn’t see as relevant to the main theme.
I also don’t like criticisms on my writing. Writing is an art and nobody would like for another person to change their work. Overall this assignment was boring because i was basically writing about myself. I didn’t learn anything from that because Ive been in all of my own experiences (I hope). However i did learn my fatal flaw. I write/type too fast to get idea down and i end up sacrificing proper spelling as i am doing now. i guess the reason i do this is because the idea is more important than the median that is used to portray it. another thing that is very hard for me to do is a word count. its extremely hard for me to stick to a word count because i will write as long as i have valid ideas and will stop when I don’t so I’m not pandering.)