Escaping Reality

Every person has their own reason for picking up a book. Sometimes it is because a teacher has given them an assignment, other times it is because they need to escape to a fantasy world, and sometimes it is simply for the sheer delight of reading. The world needs stories. It needs people to come up with these tales and twist the words into phrases that will tease the imaginations of their audiences.

For me, reading has always been an escape. It is a chance to immerse myself into the life of another person. I cry with them. I laugh with them. For the duration of the book, and usually hours after as well, my life revolves around theirs. I can set aside everything that troubles me in my life and live the life of another person and, when the book ends, I walk away with a new friend. A friend I know is always waiting for me whenever I need to escape from the stress of the real world.

Stories teach lessons. This is particularly apparent in the case of fairy tales and fables in which their purposes are to scare children into behaving in a certain fashion by showing the terrible alternative to what would happen if they didn’t listen or act in a certain way. But it isn’t just fairy tales that teach lessons. Every story has some message to impart. It may be a simple message like in a fairy tale, but it could also be more complex about following the guidelines of society or learning to stand up for yourself. There may even be more than one message in a story.

Stories are essentially guides to living couched in fictional settings. Many characters undergo growth throughout their story as they discover their purpose in life or have to adapt after tragedy. They show their audiences that it is possible to move on after horrifying experiences. Even when the story does not reflect the exact situation that I’m going through, I’ve found it sometimes helps me to process grief by finding a good book to cry over. It is a release of grief that I don’t have to feel guilty or ashamed about.

I read to escape. But sometimes I read to belong. Because after all, a story will always be there for you.

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

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