The career path of an avid reader

by Emanuel

Asengana, 2019, Writing life
February 17, 2019

I try to forget those nights when I read books under the moonlight because the electricity was off. The Socialist Republic of Romania must have been a sea of darkness from above all those years ago. It sounds kind of romantic, but it wasn’t. My eyes were hurting. The air was frosty and the memory of it is still a dull pain in my bones.

Coming morning, I would hide under the blanket and pretend to wake up after a good night’s sleep. The best part of the day has been walking to school. My brain knew the way and didn’t bother me with the details of the reality. All the pages I read the previous night were downloading now in my brain as images and sounds. It stopped in front of the school. During classes, I was doing more reading under my school desk because I needed to feed my mind on the way back home.

I realize now that reading and baptizing your children were the only authentic forms of freedom during communism. I would have loved to be paid to read. I never want it to do anything else.

When I got my first paycheck, I bought books. Reading was still the only form of freedom. As years passed, I moved through careers, jobs, and always felt a prisoner. Reading kept me sane. Reading and living in the worlds created by words was my freedom. All these years are now part of a career path taking me to the only job I can have as a free person: writer.

Now I live not only in other people’s free worlds. I create my own worlds and invite people in.

I write, and this is my freedom.


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