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I never knew what I wanted to be, which is probably how I ended up being a writer. I grew up on a farm far from most things, and books were my primary source of entertainment. My parents never said no to books, so I always had things to read. I read through the entire selection of Goosebumps books at my elementary school. I read the Ramona series, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot. I read the old, dusty books I found in our basement. For awhile in middle school, I read a new book every night, returning it the next day to the librarian who kindly suggested the next series for me to tackle. I loved the smell of books, the feel of books, the way I felt like I knew the characters by the time I finished. I loved being transported to different places. Maybe I liked the escape. Maybe I liked believing that my life could be different.
Stories are vital. They are how we understand life. And, they’re everywhere. Companies tell consumers stories about their products or services. The way you dress tells a story. The way we argue is a story. The way we love is a story. The way we learn is through story. And sometimes, the way we hurt ourselves and others is a big, complicated, blurry story.
Remember King Midas who was so greedy that he wished for everything he touched to turn to gold? But he was a bit short-sighted and didn’t realize that he couldn’t touch his daughter. He eventually turned her into a solid, golden statue and learned that some things are more important than gold. This story is why we know money can’t buy happiness. This story is why we know that family is more important than anything, and that most of us would or should choose love over riches.
Remember the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, who wanted to be loved by a boy, and who was loved so much that the rabbit became real? At the end of the story, the boy sees a rabbit that looks just like his beloved toy, and that makes him happy. This is a story about love; holding on and letting go. It’s a story about growth, and the uncomfortable feelings that come along with it. This story is how we know that we can let people go and still love them; how we know that goodbyes don’t have to be sad.