Simply Sunday is a reading meme run here at Books for a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you can share your favourite quote of the week; be it from a book, a novella, a short story, a poem, a song – whatever you like!
As I’ve recently gone back to reading books again (I’d like to thank all my blogging friends for this, and to Goodreads for being such an addictive, motivating site), I chose something literature-related. Also, my Kindle library has once again filled with too many books (yikes!) and I found a Epub reader extension on Google Chrome, which just multiplied the amount of reading material.
For the first time, however, I’m actually getting through these books. I’m so proud of this expected short accomplishment.
The quote I chose for this Sunday is the following:
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
— James Baldwin
Although the quote mentions books, I believe it applies to every sort of entertainment out there –music, stories, television, anime, etc. Books, or stories, are best reserved for a rainy day, where you feel as if you’re hopeless, but find another person just like you. It might be the lyrics of your favourite song, the characterization of a person through television or even just a story someone once told you.
When you read books, there is a raw honesty that the author themselves cannot express. As they are someone else –another name, another place, another story– they can express characteristics of themselves without fearing vulnerability. You see the character as a whole; how they behave in public, how their mind works, and the many obstacles they must overcome to retrieve their goal, that’s always out of reach.
In real life, this is not present.
You just see a person reaching goals, effortlessly and almost tauntingly, without perceiving the effort needed to attain it. The world consists of physical appearances and accomplishments, minus any insight into what the person’s thinking. Without stories, a person would be lost, feel under accomplished and maybe even empty, as the world seems greater than themselves; a mismatch.
This is why stories, told through any kind of outlet, are so important. They teach us the many things people cannot teach us fact-to-face; the kind of morals that reach underneath the surface, the things nobody wants to discuss. Stories never refrain from describing, in detail, the complications a character faces, the obstacles they must overcome, their many flaws in great detail –both externally and within– and, finally, what the author themselves have learnt throughout their lives, shared with a barrier.
That barrier ensures honesty; the true face of the author. It’s also a valid depiction of numerous things acting as obstacles, that stand in the path of success. Your pain is another’s pain, and likewise, it’s timeless. The road to success is never easy; any person can tell you that, in a brief sentence alone, but it takes a story to stick with you, to demonstrate the importance of persistence and perseverance.
Stories remind you that every problem you’ve endured, another character has suffered. These are connections among humans that cannot be possible without a substantial barrier between the author and the writing.
That is the beauty of stories, because they remind us we’re not alone.