It sounds dramatic, yes. But it actually isn’t, it’s the full-blown truth.
It may not be the best written piece of literature but it will forever hold a special place in my heart. I was seven when I read it for the first time. Terrified of snakes and spiders but somehow it was my favourite, somehow a little part of me felt like I was at home in between its pages.
It offered me a comfort that I revelled in. It came to me at a time when I had few friends and school was a miserable prison I loathed.
But on one wet, dreary and typically English day when our teachers shepherded us inside for the lunch break it offered me my future.
I’d packed it in my book bag, just in case I got a chance to read it, I’d already eaten my lunch so it was just a matter of passing the time until the next lesson started.
My friend ridiculed me for liking Harry Potter, so I found a quiet table to sit at (as quiet as can be in a classroom full of pre-pubescent children), opened my book and continued to absorb each and every word J.K Rowling had typed out.
To this day I can’t remember which part I was on, whether it was the introduction of the mandrakes or Hermione lying petrified in the Hospital Wing, but there came a point where I was filled with a certainty I had never felt before.
I’d even quite possibly call it an epiphany. But I was so certain, so confident about this one thing that I had never even thought about before. It coursed through me so quickly it was like a little electric shock.
I wanted to be a writer.
I wanted to do what this person did.
Of course, I didn’t tell anyone then about my newly conceived plans to be an author. They’d probably laugh especially since I hadn’t shown any aptitude for English before. And despite that little hurdle I knew, I felt that my future lay in the written word.
When my mum picked me up from school that day I told her straight away. She didn’t laugh, she supported it. She’s the one who gave me the idea to become a journalist so my name would already be out there, so that I would be writing for a living even when I was between books.
And, you know, she was really the only one in my family who did support it. I’m pretty sure my Nan and my Aunt thought it was a phase I’d grow out of. After all at one point in my childhood I wanted to be a basket ball player.
I didn’t grow out of it, I still am going to be a writer.
This book gave me a career to aim for, this book is the reason I’m doing what I’m doing at university, this book is the reason I’ve worked so hard at my education.
It gave me the idea that so many thought stupid, so not only do I want to prove my Nan and my Aunt wrong about me but I can’t let myself down. It has been 13 years since I realised what I wanted to do with my life and every step I have taken has always been in the same direction.
I was reading a conversation on Facebook today and someone said: ‘Never give up on your dreams.’ And it makes me think that without this dream, this single goal I’m determined to achieve, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
And although many of them might not be realised none of us would be who we are without our dreams. So I pass on this little pearl of wisdom and I hope you live by it.
Never give up on your dreams.
What book has changed your life?