Hope Clayton, Staff Writer

Reading and writing are two things I have loved for as long as I can remember. I find it kind of interesting how people can have totally different views on topics like this one. You have the people, like myself, who can find themselves reading a book within a few days, and those who absolutely dread reading and only do it when absolutely necessary. Some people see no benefit to it and only see it as a waste of time. I, however, can find myself lost deep inside a book easily.

I enjoy reading fiction mostly. I love how it takes me to places in my imagination that I might not have ever gotten to experience. Fiction is like a little escape from reality, and I guess that is why I have always enjoyed it most. Growing up, my family faced a lot of challenges. When I was thirteen years old, my mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a progressive disease involving damage to the nerve cells in the brain and spinal chord. Reading books gave me a little slip from reality every now and then, and I found it as a coping mechanism to help me deal with the new reality.

But reading is not the only thing that helped me cope. I also started discovering a new love for writing. I had always enjoyed writing, but after finding out the news of my mother, my writing was never the same as before. While reading put me in another world that someone else had created, writing put me in a world that I could create. I could write myself a world where everything was exactly how I wanted it. Not only that, but I could also write out my angers and frustrations and feelings for everything going on. Whether I was happy, sad, angry, etc., I could always write about it and somehow it would never fail to make me feel better.

Reading and writing got me through some pretty tough times in my life. They gave me a whole new world to experience, and I am so thankful for that.