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Bibliophile

Tonight I have a confession to make. It may come as a shock, but Ive finally mustered and captured the required courageousness to admit it. Im terminally ill and completely incurable. My affliction has caused me to spend thousands of dollars, some of my own, but mostly my parents throughout my childhood and adolescence, and occasionally when home on leave. Its forced me into self imposed exile and lengthy bouts of solitude and crippling introspection. It causes me to hallucinate vividly and spend entirely too much time inside my own head. To this blogs 3 readers (Hi Dubai and Russia! I see you! Shoutout to the beautiful Anastasia C), I have come to the earth shattering realization that I am an unrepentant, hopelessly addicted bibliophile.

When not shackled and chained in navy blue or occupied by social obligations, I can be found stalking the shelves of bookstores like a drug addled vagrant. Some of the fondest memories of my childhood involve sequestering myself away from friends and peers, basking in the radiant luminescence of the library. Books were, and remain, constant companions, gateways to another reality as real as the strength of your imagination allows them to be. I crept through the wardrobe and fell into Narnia, sailed the rough seas long before my enlistment began by way of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and explored the uncharted cosmos with Madeline L'Engle as my guide through all of time's wrinkles. Reading has always been second nature to me, and I remember with amusement my honest befuddlement with the need for introductory courses in phonics.

 While my classmates recieved their elementary introduction to what I knew intimately at such a young age, I allowed my mind to run rampant. The phonics were presented with an image accompanying them, a basic mnemonic to aid in retention for our young, developing minds. My spatial memory and ability to, put simply, visualize and daydream has always been intense and vivid, so these images came alive to me with little in the way of conscious effort. A became King Kong rampaging through a deep green jungle thick with foliage. W was a witch, gliding deftly through the sky, darting in and out of obstructions agilely and lithely. These early experiences laid the groundwork for the way I experience language now, as vibrant sensory adventures that actively stimulate all 5 of my senses simultaneously.

 When I write a recanting of personal experiences, or even use their details as the basis for fiction, I relive the experience fully. I feel the wind blowing lightly on my face in the Marina, see the water rippling outward in imperfect circles after Ive heard the loud splash the rock I threw in it created. I can smell the scent of grilled meat as it wafts over from a nearby Greek restaurant, and can remember the taste it made me recall fondly. Its this nearly synesthetic response that makes me enjoy writing so immensely. Every word, every letter causes a flood of color, feeling, and emotion for me.

 Words are strings and frets on the guitar of vocabulary, each one resonating with a captivating, seductive timbre when plucked. They are the perfect paints on the writers palette, encompassing all colors and textures. The blank page is the worlds most perfect, exquisite canvas, able to host a more impressive picture than the most technically exquisite, emotionally moving painting, crafted by the hand of the greatest, most virtuosic artist ever born. A painting is objective, physically the same regardless of ones perspective. Ah, but a great piece of literature, irrespective of genre, form or length? It is the most intimate painting one can ever imagine, precisely because no two people will envision and imbibe it the exact same.

 Paint has a life of a few hours at most. Once laid out on a canvas, it suffocates and perishes, leaving behind a corpse in a streak of still color. Worse still, it fades as time goes on as air corrodes it and the elements have their terrible way with it. But words? Their power is not held in their appearance. Whether they fade or not has no meaning. They are creatures of ever evolving, eternally reincarnating spirit. A transcendental piece of literature can exist as a leatherbound original from the 18th century, as a paperback in the bargain bin at a dusty used bookstore, or electronically on a Kindle, and lose none of its luster or brilliance. They are untouchable by adversity, unrestrained by the fragility inherent in physicality, and undeniable in their inherent propensity for immortality. Language itself is ironclad.

Writing, in the vast scheme of history, is a relatively new invention. Yet language and stories, poems and epics alike, have existed since the dawn of time verbally and in the memories of wandering griots, prophets and entertainers. The Ars Memoria, or Art of Memory, yet another discipline in the great art of language, God's greatest gift to us, is the discipline of using our innate visualization abilities, drawing on our infinite capacity for incredible spatial memory, to inscribe swathes of knowledge into our minds indellibly. Indescribable, unfathomable amounts of knowledge and tales have survived the millenia because of communication.

 Its not just reading, writing, memory and storytelling. Its not even just language. The Bible, the greatest and oldest tome in history has been translated into nearly every language the world over, yet its message remains undisturbed and easily understood. Language is the spirit of God distilled into something that binds us all together as one giant family. It has sounded the trumpets of war and then drawn the curtain closed on the very same conflict it inspired and birthed. The pen is truly mightier than the sword.

My love for this art runs deep. If you could gaze into the depth of my being, the core of my soul, the pulse of my heartbeat, youd behold a bookshelf filled to the brim, and a quill with inkwell, vigilantly and eternally alert, always at the ready. As sure as the sun rises each morning with the promise of a new, untarnished day to seize or waste, depending on your proclivities, I am a writer. Although I may do other things and have varying interests, this is who I am, undeniably and unapologetically. I pray that all of you can one day state your life's purpose with such devotion and conviction. God bless you on your journey. I hope youll join me on mine.

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