Writing Catalog

Sofia DiCello

Grade: 11

Hathaway Brown School

Instructor: Scott Parsons

Sit Back, Relax, and Read a Book

Personal Essay/Memoir

Sit Back, Relax, and Read a Book

I love to read. I love allowing myself to drift off into alternate realities full of endless possibilities and thought, fully escaping from the world around me, pretending for a few moments that I am somewhere else with new problems and new hardships. I find the act of reading to be an escape from my own brain, a way for me to leave my body behind and let my soul drift into a new world. I used to read every day when I was younger, constantly reaching for that escape that made me feel like I was somewhere else, somewhere magical. Recently, I have been striving to get back to that place of child-like wonder, where the mere act of reading can transport me somewhere new, somewhere exciting, allowing me to leave everything behind and sit in a place of constant wonder.

I find reading to be an outlet for my imagination to run rampant, to paint my brain with bright pictures, and beautiful faces, returning back to the child I used to be that savored those moments with sweet child-like innocence. Reading allows me to pretend, if only for a moment, that the world around me has stopped, and the only thing I have to focus on is the words and pages in front of me. I relish in the safe feeling knowing that the world I created hasn't changed since I last put my book down, that even after days have passed, everything is exactly where I left it, untouched, and unwaveringly consistent. It is refreshing to have something that stable, something you know without a doubt will never falter no matter what the circumstances may be.

The feeling of experiencing intense emotions over made-up places feels better than the intense emotions from the real world. Even when the words on the page make me feel anxious or nervous it still feels carefree and low risk. Instead, when the real world and real-world experiences make me feel anxious or nervous it is evident, and I cannot just close my eyes and make it go away. It is high stakes and high intensity, and there is no escaping it or ridding my brain of it. No skipping ahead or spoilers that will put my racing mind at ease. I just have to endure it and hope it goes away. Reading puts me in a place of emotional stability and calm, even when the main character is in crisis, I can separate what is real, and what is fiction. I can skip ahead and find out at that moment, how the story ends. In the real world, there is no such thing, no spark notes or blurb, just life in the moment.

I often ask others if they feel similarly to me if they too read in order to escape the life around them. Oftentimes I am met with the same response: they used to read when they were younger, but now rarely pick up a book for pure enjoyment. We as a society need to revisit our younger selves, the ones that read until our heart's content. We need to let our imagination take hold of our brains and relax into these new worlds. We are so used to staring at screens, so used to analyzing and criticizing. Constantly thinking about all the uncompleted tasks we have and all the loose ends we need to tie that we forget there is a whole other part of ourselves that we have been neglecting for far too long.

After revisiting that part of myself, revisiting the comfort and the safety that can be found in a book, I recommend to everyone to at some point soon to read. Find a book that interests you, that warms a part of yourself only a good book can and read. Return to the imaginary, allow yourself to paint new worlds into your head with unique faces and beautifully vibrant colors. Take a break from the black and white we are forced to think in every day as you discover what you have missed since you put your last book down. You would be surprised at how much lighter you feel when you let go of all the burdens and the worries you face every single day, focusing solely on the magical world you create.