I write because I remember.
I remember waking up to snow. Great buckets of it poured from gray skies and blanketing everything in quiet white. I remember racing to dress, struggling with my boots. "Here, don't forget your mittens." I remember the soft thump of that first footstep in the cold and virgin powder, the tracks looking back, foghorns blowing on the mist-covered bay. I feel the canvas paper bag cutting into my shoulders, the weight of Sunday's headlines heavy on my mind. I see the trees bowed with armloads of white, as if to curtsey my passing. I remember rubber bands and ink stained hands. A car spun sideways in a ditch. Always a car. Then barking dogs, a distant chainsaw. Freckles throwing fastballs that hurt for the cold of them on my neck. I remember snowmen, and igloos, and icy trails through the white and wondrous woods. And I remember sweet Mrs. Johnson waiting at her door. The smell of Avon powder, her thin smile, an envelope pressed into my palm--ten dollars and a peppermint candy cane thank you. Evening now. I remember running downtown--Salvation Army bells, white lights strung in sidewalk trees, bundled shoppers bent against the wind. I remember the heavy door, the warmth, the wood. The bookstore! Smells of paper and leather and ink. Walls of worlds bound and waiting for me to read.
Nothing has affected me as much as reading has. Dickens, Tolkien, and Lewis raised me. And while I've walked through my own hell, made my own mistakes, and found my own redemption, always there have been books. Books to help me escape, books to teach me when to stay and fight, books to help me see where I've been wrong and where I've been right.