Have you ever felt like curling into a ball and hiding in the corner because life’s just run you down? Have you reached for a book instead of giving in to that urge because you know a story will take you away to a mystical place where life delivers rainbows and love, heartache and happiness, and runs other people down instead of you?
I know I’ve used stories many times to escape the real world. And stories have taught me about love, friendship, loss, grief, adventure, hate, beauty, family, life, and the wide, wide world out there. As a voracious reader I roam across genres. I devoured sic-fi when I was younger, spy and war stories as I hit my twenties, and romance and family stories have always had a place on my shelf. Right now I’m alternating between Kylie Scott’s sassy, sexy romances, Trent Dalton’s darkly humorous story of life growing up in Brisbane, Sarah Bailey’s gritty crime stories, Barbara Hannay’s beautifully crafted rural love stories and Sally Hepworth’s lyrical tale of dementia. All of them allow me to visit a different time and place and meet characters who bring a whole new perspective to life.
Today I heard from a friend about a friend of theirs who’d suffered a great loss twelve months ago. My friend had loaned her Return to Roseglen. Her friend may well have only picked it up to keep our mutual friend happy. But magic happened and she found herself engrossed in the story not wanting to put it down. In her words ‘Thoroughly enjoying it and best of all I’m back to reading which I haven’t done since…’
Stories have the power to heal, to give the soul time to mourn, settle and regenerate. There’s no price to be placed on the healing a story can bring. Like long lazy walks on the beach there’s no telling where the journey will take us. The peace can be profound.
There are days when I wonder why I write. Today is not one of those days.