On reading, and the worlds within

Ever since I was little, I’ve had an imagination that encompasses worlds. I know pretty much all children have wild imaginations, but I don’t know how many create entire universes to play in, to hide from their lives in. I’m sure most children of abuse would know what I’m talking about, at least as far as the hiding goes. I’ve been working on various novels since I learned how to write. My mom claims I came out talking and reading a book. (I’m not entirely certain of the veracity of that claim, but I know for a fact that once I started talking, I never shut up.) I made up so many stories to tell my siblings to try and drown out the screaming in the next room. Whole worlds are in my head. Just plugging in the words “link between mental illness and” pops ‘creativity’ to the top of the list.

I wonder how many other worlds are out there, in other people’s heads. I love to read and I was an absolutely voracious reader as a child and teenager. College slowed me down, as far as books on paper goes, though I read articles online constantly. (I recently read The Hunger Games trilogy and I remembered just what it feels like to be completely seized by a book. It’s a great feeling.) Sometimes I get lost in other people’s worlds when I read an excellent book, and sometimes I get a bit paranoid of things as a result. This is probably why I can’t watch scary movies- sometimes even scary movie trailers– and most suspenseful movies get me paranoid, too. After seeing Sphere in my teenage years, I spent the night wrapped up in an afghan, curled up in my brother’s room, sobbing, because I was somehow convinced I would die in the night. (I probably scared my brother half to death.) Mom heard me crying at some point and was able to convince me to go to bed, and I woke up in the morning, confused. I still have no idea what about that movie scared me so much, but the power of my imagination is not to be trifled with. I guess sometimes I feel something like the Avatar phenomenon. I sometimes get upset that I can’t just open up a wormhole and move into the universes more perfect than my own, or at least vastly more interesting. If only reality would start to bend to my whims… At least I’d be able to fly.

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2 Comments

Filed under Now, Then

2 responses to “On reading, and the worlds within

  1. Taurus

    Wow. Reading this both helps and hurts me sooooo much. I too am a hopeless writer and have been ever since i got my first apple iie in 2ndthe grade. I shit you not when i say there are probably around 150 floppy disks in my moms basement, filled to capacity with my romantic tales. My parents refused to keep buying me books because i read too fast…i read jurassic park on a bus ride to and from a swim meet my junior year. Im glad im not alone 🙂

    But then i remember all the info I’ve read about symptoms and traits of a bipolar mind…how this illness is “making” us be this way and its like, fuck, what/who am i really? Everything that makes me ME is a disease. Thoughts???

    • Yeah, it’s sometimes ultra discouraging to realize that many people who are super creative and a lot like myself, are a lot like myself with regards to mental illness. I know that people with pretty much any disorder or difference has trouble with this- people in wheelchairs, for example, don’t want to be defined by that fact; so too do those of us with mental illness. I am not my diagnosis! And yet… how much of me *is* my diagnosis? There are so many traits that those of us with bipolar disorder share. I wonder if maybe all creative people are crazy, sometimes. Sometimes I try to see the wonky brain chemistry as mutant superpowers. I am creative because my brain is different and enables my creativity. So therefore, I’m like Rogue, or any of my other favorite X-Men. It’s at least a little less painful than thinking “I’m different because I have a sometimes debilitating illness and that sucks.”

      Plus, Rogue is AWESOME.

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