I fell in love with stories at a very young age. I wasn’t raised by people – I was raised by books and television. When I was in grade school I’d come home to an empty house. I would get a snack and turn on the T.V., stashing my backpack full of homework in my room for later in the evening.
What I ended up watching never really mattered – I loved the structure and the telling of the story. I loved how everything would be neatly wrapped up in a half hour, or, if it was an after school special, it would take a full hour. I loved it when little clues and hints were dropped in the beginning of an episode that would bloom later and become completely relevant to the story, and sometimes be the thing that gets the main character out of whatever trouble the episode had in store for them.
I always had a library book, from my grade school’s library, in my backpack. By the fourth grade, I had finished every book in its walls, with the exception of the Babysitter’s Club books because, well, I couldn’t relate to the upper-class white affluent girly protagonists. Instead, I read and reread the Choose Your Own Adventure series and, admittedly, made sure I got to read every plot line and ending before turning the books back in.
And then I started writing too.
I stared simple, with poems and basic stories, but I continued to improve and would share these stories with kids from the neighborhood and my little sister, once she came around when I was in the sixth grade.
I’ve always been a watcher, a reader, and those two things lead me to be a writer. I consume words. I devour stories. I fall in love with every protagonist on the page – good or evil. I live vicariously in other worlds. I have ruled galaxies and have become the lowliest pauper in a single sitting. I see stories the same way a surgeon sees a body. I breath stories the way a fish filters in water through its gills. I dream of stories the way others dream of wealth and affluence. This is because I love them. I love stories. There’s simply no other way of putting it.
I grew up with stories, and I continued to read avidly throughout junior high school, high school, and adulthood. I have had to say goodbye to series that spanned thirty plus years, have left galaxies and fantasies behind, have traveled across the United States through On the Road by Jack Kerouac and the Caribbean through Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys. I have had my heart broken in World War II through Atonement by Ian McEwan and have learned the importance of a towel while traveling across the universe in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I have learned how to be witty, sharp, and make hilarious butt jokes from the likes of William Shakespeare.
And here’s the secret that nobody knows, or, who knows, maybe this is well known: stories never die. They live on as we read them. They live on as we share them. They are ours to love but not to hoard or hide away. Stories are for sharing. The best part of a story, in my opinion, is the ability to talk about it with somebody else and to share the love we have for them with each other.
You can follow Amanda on Twitter @ThePandaBard, on Pinterest @ThePandaBard, or on Medium @ThePandaBard. You can also find her research on Academia.Edu at Cpp.Academia.Edu/MandaRiggle.