We’ve always heard that reading a good book takes you far away, and forgive the cliché but doing so lights the fire in your imagination.
I am a voracious reader. During my school days I generally got on well with most, though as kids are sometimes apt to be, I ran into the odd bully as well. As a kid growing up in the early 80’s and like many others my love of fantasy grew when I started playing Dungeons and Dragons. For the D&D fans out there it was the original D&D 2nd edition that I bought (and still own).
D&D unlocked my imagination and really increased my appetite for fantasy novels, and also as a means of escape from the usual kids wanting to bully just because they could. Growing up in primary school I hadn’t really come across this level of relentless teasing and Machiavellian practical jokes to try and make my life miserable.
An example of one of these practical jokes would be my tormentor grabbing a large urine sample jar from biology class and slightly opening the lid before putting it in my pencil case. For a kid trying to find his way in the world, opening that pencil case with others sitting next to you with a ‘WTF man!’ like face doesn’t instil the greatest confidence.
Being much older now, I think I learned a lot during those interesting years of high school. I distinctly remember always falling back on novels and reading about how the hero started at humble beginnings, dealing with their own nemesis (bully or otherwise) before emerging triumphant. I know that without fantasy novels in those school days my imagination wouldn’t have soared. I also indirectly found an inner strength and a way to cope while going through those sometimes tumultuous years of growing up.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time at school overall and meet some life long friends, but reading and relating to characters in fantasy novels always helped, and indeed formed a lot of the ideals I hold today; like mutual respect, fairness, generosity and just being good to others.
Look over your past at what you read; fantasy or otherwise. Did a good novel or series help you get through the trials of growing up?
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