When eBook readers came out I rolled my eyes. Where’s the smell, the touch, the sound of the pages flipping as you effortlessly perused the inside? Do you remember those joyful hours filled with reading; spending time visiting all those places, playing with all those characters, experiencing all those stories that filled your imagination?
I loved the library. The stacks of book, so high I couldn’t reach the top shelf. Even now I could spend hours in the library or in the book store, not just in fiction, but in non-fiction. All those books on new age wonders that I can use for “research,” or the things I can learn about art, decorating, history, travel. All that knowledge in my grasp, as if the whole world was shrunk down to fit into one large room.
But what else have books meant to me over the years? Have they offered me opportunities that I might not have had without them? I was fortunate. I grew up traveling, going to museums and zoos, and I went to college; I’m familiar with accumulating life experience.
So I contemplate what influence books had on me. Did they offer me new opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have had? I wonder, did I learn anything from all those hours with my nose inside the pages of Judy Blume and Stephen King? What did I gain? I was a voracious reader. I read everything that I could get my hands on, but I didn’t just want to read from cover to cover. I wanted to write, to be present in my own story, to create my own world. I wrote my first mystery/detective story at seven years old.
That series, that genre, started with my first Nancy Drew mystery, and it sparked my imagination. It fired a passion in me—a desire. I had a purpose, a path, a direction that I would take over the next 37 years of my life. Is that all too cliché? Honestly, it’s nothing more than the truth. We should all strive to live lives in which we are passionate about something. We should have goals, something to obtain. We should all attempt to accomplish something before we die. It gives us a purpose, a cause to live.
I worked toward that goal, starting out by writing training manuals, newsletters, customer correspondence, until my children were born, and then, well, life got in the way of living. But always in the back of my mind was the desire to write and create. One day it occurred to me that I had forgotten that desire, that dream to write a novel. I actually was reminded by, of all people, J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter reminded me that there was something I had wanted to accomplish, something I wanted to be, something bigger than myself, and I had put that dream away. It inspired me, much like my first mystery series. I became determined. I was reminded of that seven year old child who once uttered, “I want to be a writer when I grow up.”
It was books, those wonderful worlds which are made up of 6 vowels and 20 consonants, which spawn the words, which create the sentences, which make up the paragraphs, which form the chapters, which build the books. I wouldn’t be here without them. I wouldn’t be here, writing a blog about the opportunities that books have given me. It’s much more than gaining knowledge, much more than fueling a love of travel and desire to design and decorate. It’s so much more than getting into college.
It’s greater, more powerful. It’s given me a life worth living. I have a dream to follow, a purpose. It’s given me people to meet and places to go. It’s not just the social media, or the Wizard World. It’s the world full of experiences and promise. Had I not picked up Nancy Drew when I was seven, had I not read the first story and become so immersed in the characters, I wouldn’t find myself here, close to accomplishing what I had set out to do. Live a life with purpose, passion and confidence. There’s nothing else in the world that can compare to what a book can spark in you.
About the AuthorSheryl Steines is equal parts driven, passionate and inspired. With a degree in English from Wright State University, Steines dedicates time everyday to her art. Her love of books and a quality story drives her to share her talent with her readers as well as make the time to talk to book clubs and students about her process.
Sheryl has eclectic tastes and enjoys character driven novels. In her own writing, the Annie Loves Cham series is driven by her love of the characters and her desire to place them in totally new situations. She enjoys testing their mettle.
Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise. Her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy.
Sheryl can be found on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog. She also encourages her readers to email her and let her know what you think of Annie and Cham!