I look at things differently now. All because of books. I notice arches and vaulted ceilings with cracks in them. Large pane glass windows. A huge campus with flat courtyards and buildings meant to mimic those of Ancient Rome or Medieval Europe. Trees planted in specific plots in an order that at one point contributed to the dreams and ambitions of a city planner or architect long since turned to bones.
Where I’m sure most would see a sea of students–some rushing, some not– walking drone one place to the next, I see potential zombies and the brick and stone fortresses I would use to fight them off.
Busses follow the same never ending routes, stopping only to change out the bags of flesh packed inside. No one talks. Everyone has headphones or cell phones. No one has a smile anymore.
I share mine. A fake one in return. Who am I to change the norm. Any or all of these people could be exchanged with another and it wouldn’t affect my day, nor I affect theirs.
In books, things are different. In books, every character has a purpose. Sometimes it’s to save the world, or kiss the girl, of die in a gruesome battle under the claw of a dragon, like an ant to a boot.
Books and life do have one thing in common: Protagonists. Everyone is the main character of their own story, and every person’s story overlaps the stories of others.
My story is the birthplace of others. Seeds can take root from a simple shoulder bump from a stranger or a static column of carved stone put in place a century ago. It’s my job–the job a shaman or legend teller–to share the details that make that story an escape from the ones we live.
This is why I read. This is why I write.