Read everything and anything you can. Read the things people tell you to, and what they tell you not to. Figure out why they said what they said, figure them out, in little bits, through it. Read books you love, over and over until the pages fall out and you need a new copy. Read books you hate, just once, and know why you hate them. Read short stories and poetry and find the value in both the little knowns and the majors, in the laureate and the part-time writer.
Approach everything on a level playing field and let it surprise you. Approach it with preconceptions and find it’s exactly what you thought. Borrow, from your siblings, parents, children, friends, colleagues, cousins, and lend in return. Talk about the stories, the characters, share your passion and debate your different thoughts in good humour. Extrapolate life lessons and seek solace with escapism. Turn your back on stories and just steal a character, make them your imaginary friend instead. Let these stories change you, and resist their change on you, as you wish. Read the new and the old and find the progression and the evolution. Read your childhood favourites over as an adult and love them through a different lens: get the jokes your parents laughed at, grin at the cheesy dialogue, let your heart be warmed as it always was before, be tickled by what you’d forgotten and laugh uproariously in an empty room. You are not alone, you are surrounded by casts of lovers and fighters made real by your imagination, applied to the ink in the words on the page, an alchemical experiment. Find reality and understand it as fiction, or enter it entirely.
But please – read.


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