Talking to people is terrifying.
Okay, maybe not, hanging-off-a-cliff-over-a-pool-of-man-eating-sharks terrifying, but sometimes, the thought of having to speak up about what I want is difficult for me. And the fact that something so harmless is so intimidating is embarrassing. Fortunately, as an adult, it’s a lot easier to talk to people than when I was younger. A big part of coming into my confidence was being able to write when speaking felt impossible.
It’s not just about learning to ask for ketchup in a restaurant (though I won’t pretend like I haven’t hung up on Olive Garden because the stress of ordering takeout over the phone was too much to process at the age of 14), but learning how to give value to my feelings and communicate them to other people. Learning to write essays, poetry, and short stories allowed me to explore what kind of person I wanted to be in my own life. Even the everyday writing, like handwritten birthday cards, honest journal entries, and a thoroughly researched list of reasons on why I should be allowed to get a hamster (which worked, by the way) has given me room to become the more authentic version of myself.
Reading, on the other hand, allowed me to see worlds I wanted to live in and characters I wanted to be like, influencing my own writing. Perhaps more importantly, books helped me understand people better. Even the bravest protagonists were scared or awkward sometimes. Knowing that people weren’t always as tough as they tried to seem meant I could not only be kinder to others, but also to myself.
Recognizing the effects books had on my younger self, I am proud to be part of the Pine Reads team, and I hope I can help our readers find their next life-changing read.
PRR Writer, Grace Kennedy