by Amy Clarkin
I have always been fuelled by words and dreams. I consume stories as though they are as vital as air – to me, they are. Since I was a child I have been at my happiest while cocooned in a web of words and images. The urge to immerse myself in other worlds has only grown stronger since I became ill several years ago. Often unable to leave the house, let alone travel to work to follow the whims and dreams of an average twenty-something-year-old, my love of stories has become a solace, a soothing escape from a life frequently filled with fear and stifled by illness.
I may often be confined to my couch, but I have travelled with Aes Sedai, laughed with the Spinster Club, battled Voldemort and wandered, awestruck, through the Night Circus. Words are my oxygen, stories my fuel. Through them I have journeyed to far-off worlds and walked in many other people’s shoes. I have loved, lost, mourned and triumphed. Books are my companions, each trip to a local bookshop or library a chance to fill my soul with the adventures that I crave – at least vicariously. When crushing fatigue prevents me from walking outside, I can pick up a well-worn tome and stride under the Northern Lights with Lyra or even wade through Death with the Abhorsen. Each doctor’s waiting room is made a little less intimidating, each delay slightly less wearisome by the solid, comforting weight of the book on my lap, the words leaping off the page to calm my nerves and divert my anxious mind.
“Each doctor’s waiting room is made a little less intimidating, each delay slightly less wearisome by the solid, comforting weight of the book on my lap.”
Books are more than ink and pages. They are powerful beings, portals to other times, places, people. They are teachers, they are friends. Turning the last page of a much-loved book is simultaneously satisfying and heart-breaking. The only comfort is knowing that you can always pick it back up and start again. No matter how many times you read a tale there is always something new to discover, another angle to consider, another perspective to embrace.
Stories fill my soul and soothe my mind in times of hardship. Golden and silver sentences float off the page, melting into my skin. They leave traces, words etched in ink across my heart, imparting comfort and wisdom. They help fill the void left when my health departed. They are an escape, a dreamlike world that I can access whenever I wish. They remind me to hope, to believe, to remember that hard times can be overcome. Stories are an essential part of my life; they nurture my spirit and fill my core.
Amy Clarkin | @amyclarkin
Amy is a 27-year-old writer and film reviewer from Dublin. She can generally be found drinking coffee and reading, writing or watching stories.