I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
When I was little, I dreamt of entering snow-dusted forests and discovering a hidden lamppost through fluttering flakes. I imagined what it would be like to ride a flying lion, or become acquainted with the hospitality of a beaver’s dam. I wrote letters to fairies. I fantasized every detail about my very own trip to Neverland, running alongside the Lost Boys, and grimacing as I breathed in the rum and danger that plagued the breath of Hook. I played, I sang, I danced, and my God, I dreamt.
Books have brought me farther in my journey to adulthood than any class I’ve taken, research I’ve conducted, or paper I have turned in. Books have constructed the soul that resides underneath my freckled skin; they have given me courage, wit, and adventure. I learned how to be a better friend by falling in love with the tales of Anne Shirley and Diana Barry. I have learned how to be a better daughter through the female-driven March family so wonderfully sculpted by Louisa May Alcott.
There is no braver way to go about the world than standing tall, chin held high, with your thumb tracing the binding of a book at your right side.
But lately, I’ve realized:
I can be brave. I can be loud. I can be strong. But I am always hungry.
I can vicariously live through the whimsical tales of pirates and flying boys and white witches, and I can try to write my own story, tasting every raindrop, feeling each eroded cobblestone .
But I’m hungry. And no adventure, in or out of a book, can satiate this craving I have.
You know when you finish a book, or even a part of a book, or perhaps an incredible poem, film, song, you name it, and you release yourself back out into the world with an electricity that penetrates your thoughts and infuses your blood and you briefly have a newfound desire to live and then
—you find that you’re incredibly disappointed.
Nothing out there can match up to whatever it was that you just put down.
It’s that high that we all get when we put down a novel that moves us that comes crashing down when we realize nothing other than that book can move you the same way. It’s already been felt, experienced, and now it’s back to sitting on your bedside table. All you can do is think about it over and over and over and reread it till the pages become brittle and then
But you see, these moments of artful ecstasy–where we find ourselves so inspired and the world for a flicker of a moment can be seen in colors unknown to the sleepy mind–we are simply tasting the sweet adventure of Creation. We are only feeling the warmth of a nearby flame.
These books that change us–they are only exclamation points in a novel we are currently living.
I am still the little girl who dreams of joining the Lost Boy brigade and leaving footprints behind as I enter a magical wardrobe–only now, I’m dreaming of a different Narnia. A different Neverland. I am only a larger child.
And there’s a reason why, when I look up from the book, the joy vanishes in a whisper.
It taunts. It leaves me searching this troubled world over for a source of love and light that lasts longer than a fraction of a second. I cannot find it here within my pages.
But I am not sad.
Someday, when my book is done,
I will get to look up
And not be disappointed.