This I Believe

Karlyn - Reno, Nevada
Entered on November 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

What I believe is something you may not believe, but it really is something very important. I believe in the power of literature, whether it is novels, poems, articles of some kind, or short stories, to help people get through the toughest times. These small things: leather, glue, paper and ink, all bonded together to create a small form of life, can hold something miniscule and unimportant, or something that has the power to change the world.

I have always been a reader, and a strong one at that. To me, books are life, a small safety raft where I can float and feel safe and secure—even when my life is crumbling all around me. A few years ago, I was going through another divorce in my family, and it threw my emotions out the window, replacing them with the mindless mantras and daily routines of a robot. I was able to find a refuge in books. I was able to imagine myself in a far-off land somewhere, battling dragons and evil beings, or in the midst of a criminal investigation in the middle of New York. No matter what book I read, I was able to live the life of the main characters out in my head, looking through their eyes, seeing what they saw.

For a time, this was what I would do to escape the troubles. I was always reading, everywhere I went. If I was going to the mall with some friends, I would bring a book. If I was going to the movies with an ever-depressed mother, I would bring a book. It got to the point that I would find myself reading while walking down the hallways at school in between classes, or walking to or from the school bus stop. While reading, I could be whoever I wanted to be, not the emotionless, blonde eighth grader everyone saw. I could be a princess, a detective, or even an imaginary being.

Although I could tell that my mom was a little concerned that I threw myself into book after book, instead of living real life, she never pressed me about it. She even started making suggestions of which books I could read. I read everything, from J.K Rowling, to Mariah Stewart, to Danielle Steel. I was hungry for books, and just as soon as I finished one, I would put it away on my overflowing bookcase and pull out another. My grandma started giving me books to read as well, feeding them to me like candy. I guess that’s what they were to me: an addiction, a sort of allure, more powerful than any drug, and safer than any alcohol. I had read nearly fifty books in three quarters of a school year.

But they helped a lot—got me through the tough times of my life. I still read, and a lot too, but now I have nothing to escape, nothing to hide from. Books will always be my safe haven, something I can count on, no matter who or what I become later in life. They are never changing, always the same from the moment the words are printed a thousand times over and over in thousands of copies, and I take power from that. This I believe, stronger than any emotion, that books have the power to change the world if you just open one up and let your mind wander.