Yesterday was Book Lovers Day and I gladly stumbled on a thread by writer and poet JJ Bola that resonated with me. His tweets got me thinking about the impact that reading and writing has had on my life over the years. Going through my journals from 2012 to help me prepare for a speaking engagement took me down memory lane and really honed in on how much of a difference both of these have had on me.
I’ve always loved reading from a very young age. My earliest memories of my childhood include looking forward to my Dad buying me books from Lagos and one of my fondest memory of secondary school was having a classmate bring me Jacqueline Wilson books from his holiday trips in London.
“Books has and always be the best gift anyone could give me.”
Little did I know that a few years down the line, I would be in London too. And I remember vividly my excitement as I stepped into Dalston Library for the first time. My joy when the librarian told me I could take out twelve books at a time. Those were the best words I could have heard at a period when I was struggling to adjust to a new country and having to start over.
Books were my companion. I read and read! From James Patterson to Robert Crais, David Baldacci, Darren Shan, Phillip Pullman, William Nicholson, John Greene, Patrick Ness, JK Rowling, Anthony Horowitz and Robert Muchamore, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on.
“In truth, my childhood doesn’t exist without the hours that I devoted to books. And it’s only starting to dawn on me now, how much that was.”
The urge to write came at a later stage. I would start a journal during my early teenage years because it was the only outlet I found to make sense of everything. And looking back and reading those entries now fills me with immense gratitude as I reflect on the girl I was and the woman that I am now. Writing helped me then and a few years later, it would save me.
“One of the biggest signs for me that something was amiss in my first year of university was that I no longer had the same passion and joy for reading. It provided neither the escape, companionship or stimulation that it did before.”
A year later, when I decided to start MuslimGirlJournal, writing would be the outlet that I needed at the time, to be honest with myself and get through difficult moments. Moments and reflections that I’m looking forward to sharing with you in September.
There is no deep conclusion to this post, I just wanted to share with you all the journey that I have been through so far with reading and writing.
You write because something beyond you decided to come through you. You write because you hear voices.. especially your own. – Professor Fleming