Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trading Bruises for Books-Guest Post by Jaime Buckley

Here is the second article in the series from author friend, Jaime Buckley. Enjoy!

Stories allow us to experience extraordinary events in the safety of our own minds.

I was born in Oakland California in 1969 and grew up very close to the street. Luckily I had a loving family, because going out into the world was a complete hell. Violence was, unfortunately, a regular occurrence. School was the worst part of my life, seemingly born with a target on my back, which was invisible to adults, but stood out to attract every bully that walked the Earth.

It seemed like life was against me most days. Then again, I was a little kid—what did I know, right? No matter how I explained the traumatic events of my life to grown-ups, they just didn’t get it. They didn’t see me, hear me or protect me. Instead, I was brushed off with the philosophies of the retarded. You know what I’m talking about…that whole slew of one-liners that parents and adults tell kids to get them out of their hair and to avoid using their actual brains in constructive guidance? 

Things like: “If you play nice with them, they’ll play nice with you?” Really? How well did that work for you? Personally, I got sand kicked in my face and was forced to eat the freakin shovel. It wasn’t long before I realized these heartless efforts at instruction were a total lie. With the exception of my own parents, I couldn’t find safety or refuge in another adult. Once I left my home, I would never be safe, and by age six, I was already having anxiety attacks. 

So I started to withdraw from life…and retreat into books. 

Some of you can probably relate here. After all, you’re connected to Kaitlyn and this awesome blog—so I know you love books. But can you remember when they truly became important to you? Made a real impact in your life? Books allowed me to withdraw from the pain and conflict of my life and a good story would transport me to a realm where I was unknown. A place where I didn’t have to participate if I didn’t want to—I could simply observe. It wasn’t long before I realized, in a funny way, I had found my own personal, kid-version of heaven. 

No matter what the story I was reading, I could put the book down at any time. In real life I had been beaten with bats and bricks, chains and fists, enduring broken bones, stitches, fractures and constant humiliation. What self respecting kid with half a brain wouldn’t choose to lose themselves in the stories around them?

It wasn’t until I read Lord of the Rings, that I realized escapism was only the beginning. A wonderfully crafted story could and would, in fact, shape my very future.

Thanks again, Jaime! You're the best. I'm so glad you were able to find books. :) They're truly magical. 


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