J J Hanna
I am a Consumer of Stories
I have started to pack up my room in order to prepare for college, I have come to the realization that I am a consumer of stories. The number of books lining my walls does not compare to the number of books I’ve actually read. I’m sure the word count of the words that have entered my mind through my eyes is far past infinity by now. I’m addicted to the stories contained in those packets of paper, to the sensation of being transported out of my life and into the worlds created by others.
I believe that the reason it is so hard for a book lover to decide which book is their favorite is the same reason you can’t ask a cook to pick their favorite dinner. There are too many things that go into the decision. Characters, setting, plot, experience. All of these meld together to transport the reader so that they inevitably end up in the author’s world, just as a well practiced cook can distract you from everything going on around you by putting something delicious in your mouth. That is the incredible thing for me about being a writer as well as a reader. I not only have the ability to enter the worlds created by others, but I have the ability to create them myself for others to enjoy.
And yet, stories don’t only come through books. They come via social networks, T.V. shows, and word of mouth. There is nowhere that you can go to escape stories.
Because of this, while I ran my eyes over the many books lining my walls, and thought about the many episodes I have binged off of Netflix, I can only think about the many stories that aren’t counted there or listed among those books. These are the movies that I have watched, the books I’ve borrowed from the library, the episodes I’ve watched while they aired, stories that my consumption can only be proved by the remnants that are in my mind. A name here, a scene there, a line over in the hidden recess of my brain that sneaks up to my consciousness when someone mentions anything similar to it in conversation.
These stories have changed me, and shaped me into who I am now. And if I am a consumer of stories, and (as the saying goes) you put out what you put in, it is no surprise that stories seep out of me.
So even though I am having a hard time deciding what to bring with me to college, because all of the books on my walls are my favorite, I will, in a sense, bring them all with me. They will come across the nation in my mind, and reside in my heart, because stories are an integral part of who I am.
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