Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Addicted to Fiction

I have a serious addiction - a craving that is never satisfied, a hunger that has been with me as long as I can remember. When I was a girl, my mother used to force me out of my bedroom, out of that tiny spot in my tiny world where I could hunker down for days on end, reading one book after another. I'd come out blinking like a mole. It would take several hours to readjust to reality.

And still, as an adult, I can't seem to stop reading fiction. Books are my prozac for mental health, the drug I couldn't give up even if I wanted to try, which I don't. Throw out my television, I don't care. Pitch my computer into the trash, okay, I'd care, but not nearly as much as if you told me I would never read another book again.

Paul Simon sang in I am a Rock, "I have my books, And my poetry to protect me. I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb."

I'm certainly not as addicted as Paul, because I need other people. I'm not a rock. Or I hope not, at least.

Why do I do it, want to read all the time, resent people and circumstances that come between me and by beloved pages?

Lots of reasons. Mainly because I look forward to leaving my own world behind and exploring life through someone elses eyes. Pure escapism. Entertainment. Love it! But books also help me think about things I've never considered before, they take me to places I'd never get to go to on my own, they relax me when I'm stressed, and they teach me new things.

All in all, not a bad addiction to have.