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How My Love For Writing Began

A story for the "Passing Ships" Challenge

By Mohammed DarasiPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 5 min read
How My Love For Writing Began
Photo by Fynn schmidt on Unsplash

I’m not a native English speaker. I learned the very basics of English when I was younger but only started properly learning it after coming to the UK. I was thirteen at the time so not a bad age to start learning a new language (which is now basically my main language). The first apartment we (my family and I) lived in was quite small but nice nonetheless; it was in an area where the government basically stashed immigrants while their cases were processed, so we were surrounded by many people from all walks of life. This environment was very comforting to have in a strange new city.

My younger brother and I started going out in the neighbourhood as soon as we settled down and we began playing football (or soccer to my American friends) with other kids. We didn’t have much in the apartment at the time so that was the best way to pass the time and make friends. After a week of so, my dad got us a tiny TV in the living room that had 4 or 5 channels, and one of the channels played the sitcom “Friends” at around 4pm every day. That show essentially became my first English tutor. The other, and more significant, way I learned English was by reading the Harry Potter book series.

Reading these books made me fall in love with storytelling and fictional stories. It unlocked my imagination with each page, and made me realise how powerful the written word can be. The world building was so masterful. It made me want to explore my inner thoughts and express them in words.

My journey to writing didn’t start there, however. It started years ago with an unexpected encounter that instilled the seed for my love of reading fiction, and my eventual love of writing.

A few years before we came to the UK, we had taken a family holiday to Egypt; I can’t remember exactly why it was Egypt we chose exactly, but my siblings and I were all young and didn’t really care too much about the destination. We were excited for the trip. Before even reaching Egypt, the journey alone was exciting enough, because it was my first-time on a ship.

The ship was massive and had much for me to explore. Despite the frustrating experience at the port on either side of the journey across the Red Sea, it was quite an experience. The main thing I remember about the ship is that it was very windy at the top deck. So windy, in fact, that we were worried about taking my younger brother up there in fear of him flying right out of the ship.

While it would’ve been perfect if the ship was the main scene of this story, given that I am writing this for the “Passing Ships” challenge, my reading and writing passion was sparked a little further down the line.

The first city we kicked off our holiday in was the capital, Cairo. The port was jam-packed with people, and that followed through to the rest of the city. The city itself was very lively and felt like it was always open for business. We experienced many local things that were new to us, but we also did the usual touristy things like going to museums and, of course, the pyramids. Before going on this holiday, I always thought that the pyramids were simply monuments to look at, I never knew that we could actually go inside, but that’s exactly what we did... a story for another time perhaps.

After about a week in the hectic and energetic Cairo, we started heading to a different city called Alexandria. This kicked off another new experience for me: riding the train.

We’ve always seen trains in movies but we had never seen one in real life; trains were not a very prominent transportation method in the middle east at the time (I don’t know if that is still the case). We got to the train station and had to wait a few minutes before boarding, so the whole family just huddled together and waited. While we were waiting, my dad disappeared somewhere for a few minutes and when he got back, he came back with a full plastic bag; it had some snacks and drinks but it also had something I never expected to see in there. My dad felt that the train journey might be boring for us kids, so he wanted to get us something to pass the time while we’re travelling. He picked up some books that seemed like they were for kids; the Harry Potter series in Arabic.

I still remember how the 6 books were all brand new and were wrapped together in plastic. I thought “why did he buy that?” and simply ignored them and went for the snacks. Of course, later on the train I got bored out of my mind. I had already seen all there is to see of the train and simply sat slumped on the table. At the corner of my eyes, I saw those books my dad bough and thought “what else am I gonna do anyway” and grabbed them. I tore off the plastic and took the first book: Harry potter and the philosopher’s stone. I read a few chapters on the train and I was hooked.

After getting back home from the holiday, I read the books whenever I had the chance, and I ended up reading them cover to cover multiple times in a few months. At the time, the last book was not yet available, so I only had up to the 6th book. I was never a reader before then, but I got captivated with the imaginary world that J.K. Rowling created in these books; a world that had its own rules and logic. A world that was similar to ours but slightly different. A world that was entirely in my head… all of this done simply with words!

When the time came for us to immigrate to the UK, I couldn’t take all of the books with me, so I decided to take the 6th book (the Half-blood prince) because it was the book that I had read the least number of times. I still have this book with me today.

As I said earlier, watching Friends and reading the Harry Potter books is what helped me learn English after we came to the UK. One of the things I was adamant about after we settled down, was to get the Harry Potter books in English. There was a market we simply called “Sunday Market” that had people selling all kinds of things, from fruit and vegetables, to books and electronics. I was there one Sunday with my dad when I came across the harry potter books in one of the stalls. I took the opportunity and hounded my dad until he bought them for me. I read these books multiple times, just like what I did with the Arabic versions… only this time I actually got to read the ending with the 7th book.

Who would’ve thought that those books my dad randomly bought in a train station would actually end up such a significant part of who I am today? Definitely not me.

I am grateful to my dad for buying these books, and happy that reading and writing allows me to explore my mind. I honestly have no idea how I would have been as a person if I didn’t have reading and writing as an outlet for my thoughts.


About the Creator

Mohammed Darasi

I write fiction, poetry and occasional articles about interesting topics. I recently created a website (just because) which I will be posting my writing in (among other things). it would be great if you check it out.

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