Nearly every candid photograph from my childhood captures me thumb in mouth, eyes glued to a book. I’ve since stopped sucking my thumb, but my voracious appetite for reading has yet to be satisfied.

I’m a big believer in escapism, and books have always been the perfect way out of my world and into another. Even if that other world is someone else’s true story, I delight in being part of a different sphere. My favorite childhood novel is The Phantom Tollbooth, a truly whimsical allegory about embracing the life of the mind. As an adult, my favorite book is The Windup Bird Chronicle, a similar tale of escaping dullness and mediocrity for an adventure beyond imagination. These books are true escapist literature, pulling readers into fantastical realms. Once I finish a book like this, you can find me, still lost somewhere far away before the gates of reality close me in again.

I would probably never write a book like that though. The works that most inspire me to put pen to page (or to start up Word) are usually nonfiction. A good memoir, a series of personal essays or a biography are what most make me want to write. Authors who translate truth into the beauty of prose are the most talented, in my mind. And when the world we live in is so strange and personal, why not take the task of recording it? My best writing always comes from what is real.

Books are my passion, and while I’ve gladly spent entire days holed up in a dream existence of another author’s creating, I am at my best when I am engaged with my own world. Anything can be a story, and everything holds meaning; I have the responsibility of translating the ordinary into something that will make other readers pause and stare dreamlike out their own windows.