Once upon a time our stories were simple.
Once upon a time our mothers turned the pages for us, held our hands, and promised to read out the words we still stumbled over, sometimes, if we were tired or alone.
Once upon a time we were taught to walk only so we could begin that ancient human race: the desperate sprint for success, power and fame. The one where your mother lets go of your hand and tells all her friends that you can do it without falling sometimes, if they pretend they aren't watching or they shake a rattle at you; the one where coach says the people sitting at the side-lines are only kids who can't run fast enough, who didn't try hard enough, who aren't enough; the one where you are named by your number.
Sometimes we are drowning in the texts.
Sometimes definitions escape us, and questions will plague us, and it feels as if our teachers taught us words only so we could understand what we should not say.
Sometimes we are reading so hard that we forget to stop and look behind a story, behind a person, and see what is holding them up after all these paragraphs. And in those times we are at our worst; becoming only blank paper, simply vain intent covering sheets of tree pulp. And we would be the cruelest of trees, reaching ever-further over our friends as we yearned for the sun – oh, but it's true, isn't it? We are spreading branches, all of us, crushing saplings between ourselves on our crusade for the golden, our beloved ambitions.
Now is the time to lay ourselves down on paper.
Now is the time to stop running a race; to stop starving our friends of the sun; and to sit among the bookshelves with all our ilk and be worthwhile to anybody who comes along, picks us up, reads a word, and remembers it always as a better man.
Now is the time to reach out and grasp a being, page to hand; to look a person in their eyes, and tell them they are beautiful and that they mean something in this world, even without all the kinds of things our parents want for us; any child, any father, any lover, you tell them and you become that brief shining substance that pours in their soul and fills up the cracks that shudder ever wider over the years of being human.