One of my side jobs that I love the most is tutoring students in writing. I love working with young writers and fanning that flame into something more. And today I was reminded why I love it so much.
About seven in the morning, an essay arrived in my inbox that made me tear up. One of my particularly gifted students wrote about the most powerful relationship in her life, and she chose books. Through the essay, she described how the Harry Potter series drew her into the magical world of reading and how it changed her. She now loves reading and writing because she can experience so much more. Her friendships with fictional characters feels as rich as that with regular people.
I saw so much of myself in that essay. For those of you who are wondering, no, it wasn’t a perfect essay. But it was one of the few times a student poured her heart into an assignment. And it was beautiful. Even though she wants to be a microbiologist when she grows up, her passion and excitement bled through those 500 words. I’ve never been prouder of a student.
Fictional characters have been as near and dear to me as flesh and blood friends. I always loved reading, but the books that pulled me into the fictional world unlike any other were The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. After that, the possibilities of the imagination seemed limitless. There’s something so powerful about a well written book. It doesn’t just tell you a story. It transports you to a new world with characters you come to love and cherish so much.
So to all the writers out there pouring themselves into their stories, thank you. You make our lives richer. And to the readers who are willing to jump into these stories, you make it even more fulfilling.