Friday, February 9, 2018

Thank You, Julia Marwick

Thank you, Julia Marwick, for welcoming me into your little neighborhood bookstore, when you knew I wasn't there to buy anything. Thank you for allowing the dirty, summer shoes of an ten-year-old, or the snowy, wet winter boots, to trod across your floor, knowing I wouldn't clean up after myself. Thank you for providing a safe, quiet place, away from the bullying and the constant, cruel pressure of growing up less than wealthy in an affluent suburb. Thank you for the respite from the stress and loneliness of an alcoholic home, where the only way to survive was knowing how to walk on eggshells and shape-shift.

But mostly...thank you for creating a place where my mind could escape, where my thoughts could fly, and morph, and swim in the stories on the pages of the books you sold. I would sit on the floor of your little shop for hours, immersed in a fantasy, or a future world, or connecting with a child not unlike myself. I sunk into the depths of a hero's story, while I didn't even know I was beginning my own. I would see you look up from your front desk every once in a while, and peer around a bookshelf at me. You didn't speak to me. You didn't expect anything of me. You knew. You knew what it meant to me to be there, safe and engaged, without me ever needing to tell you a word.

In those pages, alone in that little book store with you, I learned that people--mere mortals like me--could create worlds. And that those worlds could mean the whole world to someone else. Like they did to me. Fiction saved my least, that's how it felt then. Still does. I knew way back then that I wanted to create worlds, too. I didn't know it like I knew my name, at the front of my brain, at the top of my conscious thoughts. It was still deep down. It would take a long, long time, while the seeds I had planted were growing, to know like I know now. 

That little book store was my own private oasis. And what I have come to create out of it, after all these years, is a world that is uniquely mine. It feels so intimately connected to that dark, private, protected place inside of me...a place like Julia Marwick's book store felt. It has taken me a long, long time to bring my creation to life and to trust the outside world with it. But what I want more than to share this place of creation, of escape, of adventure, and hope, and intrigue, and mystery, and love. I want others to fall inside my stories and get lost in the forget they are reading and to feel like they've stepped into an alternate world--one that nobody else has ever known before. 

I want to give to others what that little bookstore gave to me. From this story, and all the stories to come. Because there are more...many more. This writing grows inside of you. And once one story is out, the next must come. Must. And the next, and the next. Thank you, Julia Marwick. Wherever the Universe finds are an integral part of who I have become.