You may have already read one of my stories and realized that my childhood in a small WI town was not the greatest. Reading is the one thing that probably saved my life and sanity. I was poor, never had a ride anywhere and everybody knew about my family. Not in a good way, though. They all knew Dad was a drunk and Mom was disabled and weak. The kids in town were mean and the adults wouldn't look me in the eye. My brothers and sister were years older than me, so I lived alone with my disabled mother. I am not sure who took care of who. By the time I was in kindergarten she had decided she had no reason left to live and she just sat in her chair all day watching television and smoking Winston's. I spent a huge part of my time at the public library in my town. It was quiet, safe and had all the books with all my friends there waiting for me in my imagination. I thought it was the most beautiful place on earth.
I sat in the sun spots on the floor picking through the books one day when I was maybe eight or nine. I was constantly running out of books to read it seemed so a lot of times I would be reading books that were a couple of years above my grade level. I remember being frustrated with all the same old books and I just wanted something new and interesting. Then came the magical day I found the most interesting book I had ever seen. It was beautiful. It didn't look like any other book I had ever seen. I knew as soon as I saw it that it was going to be important to me.
I took it down off the shelf and shuddered a little when on the spine of the book I saw two snake intertwined with each others tail's in their mouths. Intrigued, I glanced inside the book and immediately spotted intricate drawings at the beginning of each chapter. Later I would realize that each chapter started with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. The first chapter began with a word that started with the letter A. The second chapter was a word that began with the letter B and so on for exactly 26 chapters. I also noticed right away that some of the text was in red and some was in green. The red was text from in the real world and the green was actually the world in the book Bastian , the young boy that is the main character of the story, has taken. It was literally a story within a story. I took one look at the name of the book, The Neverending Story, and I collected my things and got ready to head home. I couldn't wait to start reading. I took the long, cold walk home as quick as I could and I settled in to read the first and best fantasy world I have found to this day.
Before Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, there was The Neverending Story. You may have seen the movie which honestly did not even come close to the tip of the iceberg of this story. This story is like a tribute to the imagination of children and adults alike. It brings to me the idea that everything in the world really is connected in some way and if you look hard enough every story is kind of the neverending story. Nothing really ends so much as it changes and turns into the next story. Some of them are fun stories and some of them are sad but eventually they are all connected in some way. We may just need to keep our imaginations open for them. As the author Michael Ende repeatedly pointed out “But that is another story and shall be told another time.”