I grew up watching my older sister with her head in a book. Lying with her legs over the arm of the sofa or stretched out on her bed, she spent hour after hour absorbed in the classics. Inspired by Louisa M Alcott (Little Women is still her favourite book) and other female authors she transported herself from suburban Middlesex to worlds and lives very different to our own. Living in books was her escape; a joy and liberation that I had yet to experience in any meaningful way. In my teenage years when I lacked confidence in my creativity and would sit head in hands struggling for ideas for English essays, my sister encouraged me. I can remember one day quite clearly, even though it was almost 50 years ago when she was bewildered by my lack of inspiration. On this particular day, I’d been given an essay title for homework and told to write a story. I was stuck. I was stuck because I was afraid; afraid of judgement and afraid to imagine lives and situations outside my shut down world. But this day would prove to be a turning point. After sharing some ideas of what she would do, I began to recognise the power of my imagination. I didn’t do what she would have done, but it was a trigger to tell a different story. I started writing and I didn’t stop until I was done. I submitted my story and the story I’d been telling myself changed. My English teacher was excited, saying he’d been waiting to see work like this. Somehow he’d seen beyond my self-imposed limitations and knew that I had talent. From that moment on I was never stumped for ideas nor lacked inspiration. My passion for writing had begun and a life-long love affair with reading was also ignited. Now, after years of focusing on my business, I am making time for books again. I joined a book club in 2019 which went online in 2020. I appreciate reading books I would never have chosen before and am discovering new authors. I love discussing the author's style of writing, the plots, and the characters with my new friends and have taken up writing once more. So I am celebrating National Read A Book Day by starting a new book. What are you reading?
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