Slave to the Words


By Charlie Brown

It was 2003 when I became a school legend. Not to toot my own horn but I was the only second grader to read a book of 200 pages. My mother took me to the library and the first book I picked out was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, needless to say it kept me busy. From that day I was addicted, by the third grade I was reading from the adult section, Lois McMaster Bujold and Bukowski were my favorites (Bukowski was my second favorite due to his profanity). I would read during class, at break times I could be found under the trees reading, in the bathroom, even after my bedtime; I would lie under my covers, reading with a laser light until my eyes became heavy. That was how life went for me, reading and television and video games. The Feeling was addictive, my mind growing with each syllable; slowly my grasp of reality strengthened as the veil of childhood faded.

By the fourth grade my childhood became a quest to see more, to be more that what I was the moment before. I was so immersed in English that I forgot how to speak my mother tongue.  I spent the day in the lands of Middle Earth and at night I could be found in the dangerous and intricate world of political schemes in Chalion. As a result of I didn’t have much of a social life, then again spending time with a 600 page book tended to put a dent in all aspects of life. But nonetheless I was happy. Until I wasn’t. The sun was at its zenith when it happened, its silent bellowing inferno cooked the earth; as if it were angry at my ignorance. It was in geography class when it happened, I remember because my teacher at the time was Mr. Robain, a tall lanky man who was also by far the rudest man I had ever met, at least that what my mother said; I just thought he was honest. Perhaps it’s because they tell the truth that people call them rude. But I’m getting off topic, it was geography class and Mr Robain left the classroom because of some emergency (I think he went to go smoke). Big mistake.  The silence lasted about 30 seconds before the class flared up in a chaotic buzz, whispers and sniggers spread like an epidemic;  infecting the all too receptive students with a childlike glee.

I confess; I wasn’t immune to it but for some reason this was different. The burn in my belly was for something else, the want that had grown since the day I opened The Philosophers Stone. It grew with every word I read, I couldn’t comprehend it. It expanded, swelled until it consumed my every thought and desire.

Then it hit me, so simple that I almost burst into a fit of laughter. My mother had me keep a diary in my younger years, I should’ve realized sooner. I was happy and scared at the same time, happy due to me finding my purpose but also scared; what if I wasn’t good enough? There was only one way to tell, my hand grasped the pen before I thought about it. I stopped before the ink hit the page; I waited for a moment and let my fear melt away. I waited because I knew that if I wrote that first word my destiny would be sealed. I turned my head, watched my classmates laughing, screaming, pulling and shoving in the chemical insanity of youth. I allowed myself to bathe in its childish anarchy for a moment longer and then I let myself go.

My mind exploded with impossible worlds and improbable heroes and heroines, a veritable tsunami of words and feeling and imagination. I roved among the cosmic deities and all the planets and stars were my domain. For those ten minutes, my hand became the hand of god. Magnanimous vistas and unimaginable worlds were formed from the flick of my wrist and the ink of my pen, like the great creator himself. I didn’t realize that I had become shackled to the words, bound in their siren spell. I took what they offered and like a child, I damned the consequences. The words haven’t let go of me since…


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