The first fantasy story I ever read by myself was a Dr Suess. I was five, and it was love at first sight. I was taken to a world of strange and marvelous creatures conjured from a fantastic imagination. Some were incredibly different, strange, behaved in the oddest ways, and I loved them all. I didn't know it at the time, but that was one of my first lessons in tolerance, not just of characters in a book, but of those who were not like me.
As I grew I continued to read; fantasy, science fiction, romance, and paranormal stories. I came to realize that you could be green or blue, have pointy hair or sunken eyes, or be from another world entirely, there was still someone out there who wanted and needed you.
My family and friends taught me to love by example, but books taught me to care because they made me think. They opened my mind to new ideas, even ones that went against what I normally believed. What a wonderful power we have as writers to teach in a way that entertains as it shares a message.
Books are magical because they can change who we are on the inside. The relationship between reader and writer is purely an exchange of ideas. What else can touch your heart, stir your emotions, or blow your mind in quite the same way as a book? Writing gives me an amazing opportunity to share pieces of myself with people who I may never meet.
I may sound a bit idealistic, but I'll end in the immortal and beautiful words of John Lennon
"You may say I'm a dreamer, well I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one."
Makes you think, doesn't it?